Expression of growth factor ligand and receptor genes in preimplantation stage water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) embryos and oviduct epithelial cells

in Reproduction

The temporal pattern of expression of genes for several growth factor ligands and receptors was examined in preimplantation water buffalo embryos and oviduct epithelial cells using RT-PCR. The identity of the resulting PCR products was confirmed by their expected size, restriction analysis, Southern blot hybridization and nucleotide sequence analysis. Preimplantation stage embryos from the one-cell to the blastocyst stage were derived after maturation, fertilization and culture of oocytes in vitro. Expression of members of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) family was observed predominantly in preimplantation stage embryos and oviduct epithelial cells. Similarly, transcripts encoding insulin and IGF-I receptors were detected at each stage of embryonic development. The mRNA transcript of the IGF-I receptor was not detected in oviduct epithelial cells, but a prominent band corresponding to the insulin receptor was observed. Insulin and IGF-II mRNA were expressed as maternal transcripts that were not detected at the two- to four-cell stage but were present as zygotic transcripts at the eight-cell stage. Transcripts encoding IGF-I were detected in oviduct epithelial cells, but were not observed in any of the preimplantation stage embryos. Transforming growth factor (TGF) α and β and epidermal growth factor mRNA transcripts were not detected in any of the preimplantation stage embryos. These results indicate that IGF-I acts via a paracrine mechanism to promote growth and development of preimplantation water buffalo embryos. Similarly, IGF-II appears to act through a heterologous autocrine mechanism via the IGF-I or the insulin receptor. Furthermore, the presence of TGF-α in oviduct epithelial cells indicates that it may have a critical role during development.

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