Genetic Reprogramming of Transcription Factor AP-gamma in Bovine Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Preimplantation Embryos and Placentomes

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Mol. Reprod. Dev.

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Bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) efficiency remains very low despite a tremendous amount of research devoted to its improvement over the past decade. Frequent early and mid-gestational losses are commonly accompanied by placental abnormalities. A transcription factor, activating protein AP-2γ, has been shown to be necessary for proper placental development in the mouse. We first evaluated the expression of the gene coding for AP-2γ (Tfap2c) in several bovine fibroblast donor cell lines and found it was not expressed. Subsequently we determined the expression profile of Tfap2c in oocytes and various stages of preimplantation in vitro fertilized (IVF) embryos. Tfap2c was undetectable in oocytes and early embryos, and was detectable at relatively high levels in morula and blastocyst IVF embryos. The lack of expression in oocytes and donor cells means Tfap2c must be induced in the zygote at the morula stage in properly reprogrammed embryos. SCNT embryos expressed Tfap2c at the eight-cell stage, 2 days earlier than control embryos. Control embryos first expressed Tfap2c at the morula stage, and at this stage Tfap2c was significantly lower in the SCNT embryos. No differences in expression were detected at the blastocyst stage. To determine whether Tfap2c was properly reprogrammed in the placenta of SCNT pregnancies, we evaluated its expression in cotyledons and caruncles of SCNT and control pregnancies between days 55 and 90 gestation. Expression of Tfap2c in caruncles significantly increased between days 55 and 90, while expression in cotyledons was relatively consistent over that same period. Expression levels in SCNT tissues were not different from controls. This data indicates Tfap2c expression is altered in early preimplantation SCNT embryos, which may have developmental consequences resulting from genes influenced by Tfap2c, but expression was not different at the blastocyst stage and in placentomes.