Global gene expression analysis comparing bovine blastocysts flushed on day 7 or produced in vitro

M Mohan, A G Hurst, J R Malayer
Molecular Reproduction and Development 2004, 68 (3): 288-98
In vitro produced (IVP) bovine embryos have darker cytoplasm, reduced buoyant density, fragile zonae pellucidae, chromosomal abnormalities, higher pregnancy failure rates, and altered gene expression compared to embryos produced in vivo. Characterization of early deviations in gene expression would enable us to better understand the biology of early embryo development and improve in vitro culture systems. Here we compared gene expression between Day 7 blastocysts generated in TCM199 with 5% FBS and Day 7 in vivo derived blastocysts and using suppression-subtractive hybridization (SSH). Pools of 25 embryos for both driver and tester were used in the RNA extraction process. The subtracted products were cloned and subjected to differential hybridization screening analysis. cDNAs were isolated, single-pass sequenced, and subjected to BLAST search. Of 32 in vivo ESTs (expressed sequence tags) that provided sequence information, 30 matched homologous sequences in GenBank. Of 32 in vitro ESTs, 22 provided specific matches while the remaining ten represented novel transcripts. Two in vivo ESTs, galectin-1 and fibronectin, and one in vitro EST, filamin A, were further characterized using real-time quantitative PCR. To further examine the reproducibility of the SSH data, three different pools of embryos with each pool containing ten embryos produced from each of the following production systems, namely, in vivo, IVP in TCM199 with 5% FBS and CR1aa with 5% FBS were used for real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) confirmation studies. Significant increases in the expression level of galectin-1 and fibronectin were observed in the in vivo derived blastocysts compared to blastocysts produced in TCM199 with 5% FBS and CR1aa cultures. No significant difference in filamin A expression was found between blastocysts produced in vivo and those derived from either of the in vitro production systems. We conclude that these techniques are useful to characterize the transcriptome of the early preattachment embryo and observed deviations in mRNA expression may partially explain the differences in quality between in vivo and IVP embryos.

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