Abstract #6

# 6
B. L. Daughtry*1,2, J. L. Rosenkrantz3,2, N. Lazar8,4, N. Redmayne2, K. A. Nevonen4, L. Carbone3,4, S. L. Chavez2,7, 1Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA;, 2Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, OR, USA;, 3Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA;, 4Division of Neuroscience, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, OR, USA;, 5Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA;, 6Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA;, 7Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA;, 8Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.

A primary contributor to in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure is the presence of unbalanced chromosomes in pre-implantation embryos. Previous array-based and next-generation sequencing (NGS) studies determined that ~50 to 80% of human embryos are aneuploid at the cleavage stage. During early mitotic divisions, many human embryos also sequester mis-segregated chromosomes into micronuclei and concurrently undergo cellular fragmentation. We hypothesised that cellular fragmentation represents a response to mis-segregated chromosomes that are encapsulated into micronuclei. Here, we utilised the rhesus macaque pre-implantation embryo as a model to study human embryonic aneuploidy using a combination of EevaTM time-lapse imaging for evaluating cell divisions, single-cell/-fragment DNA-Sequencing (DNA-Seq), and confocal microscopy of nuclear structures. Results from our time-lapse image analysis demonstrated that there are considerable differences in the timing of the first and third mitotic divisions between rhesus blastocysts and those that arrested before this stage in development (P < 0.01; ANOVA). By examining the chromosome content of each blastomere from cleavage stage embryos via DNA-Seq, we determined that rhesus embryos have an aneuploidy frequency up to ~62% (N = 26) with several embryos exhibiting chromosomal mosaicism between blastomeres (N = 6). Certain blastomeres also exhibited reciprocal whole chromosomal gains or losses, indicating that these embryos had undergone mitotic non-disjunction early in development. In addition, findings of reciprocal sub-chromosomal deletions/duplications among blastomeres suggest that chromosomal breakage had occurred in some embryos as well. Embryo immunostaining for the nuclear envelope protein, LAMIN-B1, demonstrated that fragmented cleavage-stage rhesus embryos often contain micronuclei and that cellular fragments can enclose DNA. Our DNA-Seq analysis confirmed that cellular fragments might encapsulate whole and/or partial chromosomes lost from blastomeres. When embryos were immunostained with gamma-H2AX, a marker of chromatin fragility, we observed distinct foci solely in micronuclei and DNA-containing cellular fragments. This suggests that micronuclei may be ejected from blastomeres through the process of cellular fragmentation and, once sequestered, these mis-segregated chromosomes become highly unstable and undergo DNA degradation. Finally, we also observed that ~10% of embryos prevented cellular fragments or large blastomeres from incorporating into the inner cell mass or trophectoderm at the blastocyst stage (N = 5). Upon confocal imaging, multiple nuclei and intense gamma-H2AX foci were found in a large unincorporated blastomere in one of the blastocysts. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that the rhesus embryo responds to segregation errors by eliminating chromosome-containing micronuclei via cellular fragmentation and/or selecting against aneuploid blastomeres that fail to divide during pre-implantation development with significant implications for human IVF.