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Expression of specific genes in early mouse embryos blocked by cytochalasin

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Mouse embryos at the two cell stage derived from C57BL/6 × C3H/Aa F1-females heterozygous at the X-linked phosphoglycerate kinase locus (Pgk-1) were cultured continuously in the presence of cytochalasin B or D. Further cleavage of the two cell embryos was thus prevented and the embryos became polyploid during culture. The onset of expression of the maternally inherited Pgk-1 gene and of the paternally inherited glucosephosphate isomerase (Gpi-1) gene was determined in these polyploid embryos by cellulose acetate gel electrophoresis of single embryos. In contrast to euploid preimplantation embryos developing normally in utero or in culture without cytochalasins, expression of maternal Pgk-1 was never observed at days 4 and 5 of gestation in polyploid two cell embryos, showing that the Pgk-1 allele on the maternally inherited X chromosome is not activated independently of cytokinesis and morphogenesis. Expression of paternally derived Gpi-1, however, occurred in cleavage blocked embryos von day 5 of development. This may indicate that the activation of two genes which are both expressed during preimplantation development and which both code for glycolytic enzymes, is initiated by different signals.

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Correspondence to Wolfgang K. G. Krietsch.

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Fundele, R., Illmensee, K., Jägerbauer, E.-. et al. Expression of specific genes in early mouse embryos blocked by cytochalasin. Roux's Arch Dev Biol 196, 376–380 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00375775

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Key words

  • Mouse embryogenesis
  • Cytochalasin
  • Phosphoglycerate kinase
  • Glucosephosphate isomerase