Almost total lack of sperm-borne RNAs is regarded as one of the key factors that leads to the abnormal development of somatic cell nuclear transfer embryo. This paper reveals a need for us to further explore the roles of the paternal regulatory factors on embryonic development in early embryos.
Mature sperm contain both coding and non-coding RNAs, which can be delivered into an oocyte with the sperm at fertilization. Accumulating evidences show that these sperm-borne RNAs play crucial roles in epigenetic reprogramming, cytoskeleton remodeling, embryonic development, and offspring phenotype. Almost total lack of sperm-borne RNAs is regarded as one of the key factors that leads to the abnormal development of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryo. bta-miR-183 was found to be highly expressed in bovine sperm and can be delivered into oocytes during fertilization in our previous study, and in this study, EZR was confirmed as a target gene of bta-miR-183 in early embryos by bioinformatics, luciferase, and gain-of-function and loss-of-function experiments. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the density of microvilli on the surface of SCNT embryos was significantly higher than that onin vitro fertilized embryos and was significantly reduced by injection of bta-miR-183 mimic. EZR-siRNA injected into SCNT embryos had a similar effect. This indicated that the lack of bta-miR-183 might lead to abnormal changes in microvilli by downregulating ezrin protein. In addition, gain-of-function studies showed that bta-miR-183 significantly improved developmental competence of SCNT embryo in terms of cleavage (76.63% vs 64.32%, P < 0.05), blastocyst formation (43.75% vs 28.26%, P < 0.05), apoptotic index (5.21% vs 12.64%, P < 0.05), and the trophoblast ratio (32.65% vs 25.58%, P < 0.05) in day 7 blastocysts. Thus, the present study indicated that bta-miR-183 might play crucial roles in the formation of microvilli and embryo development by regulating expression of EZR mRNA.