Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 619–627 | Cite as

Stem cell factor/c-Kit signaling in in vitro cultures supports early mouse embryonic development by accelerating proliferation via a mechanism involving Akt-downstream genes

  • Jung Jin Lim
  • Jin Hee Eum
  • Jeoung Eun Lee
  • Eun Sun Kim
  • Hyung Min Chung
  • Tae Ki Yoon
  • Kye-Seong KimEmail author
  • Dong Ryul LeeEmail author
embryo biology



Stem cell factor (SCF)/c-Kit regulates the proliferation and survival of germ cells or stem cells; however, little is known about the role of SCF/c-Kit in pre-implantation embryo development.


Using exogenous SCF supplementation and c-Kit siRNA injection, we investigated the role and mechanism of SCF/c-Kit in pre-implantation mouse embryos.


Addition of soluble SCF to the culture medium improved blastocyst formation. c-Kit gene silencing reduced the rate of blastocyst formation and delayed embryonic development. The number of proliferating cells in c-Kit gene-silenced blastocysts decreased, whereas the number of apoptotic cells in blastocysts obtained from both experimental and the control groups was not affected. RT-PCR, immunostaining and western blotting revealed that proliferation-related Akt downstream targets were substantially affected by c-Kit gene silencing.


SCF/c-Kit signaling through Akt downstream targets is likely involved in mediating the cleavage and proliferation of blastomeres during mouse pre-implantation embryogenesis.


Stem cell factor (SCF) c-Kit receptor Embryonic cleavage Gene silencing 



This research was supported by a grant (2009-0093821) from Priority Research Centers Program funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Republic of Korea.

Supplementary material

10815_2010_9449_Fig5_ESM.gif (170 kb)
Supplemental Figure 1

Effect of SCF supplementation on the development of mouse one-cell embryos at 96 h post-hCG. The data are expressed as the mean±SEM. a,b Values within the same column with different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05). Note: KSOM (only): 139 zygotes, serum-free KSOM media, KSOM (100 ng/ml SCF): 138 zygotes, serum-free KSOM media with 100 ng/ml soluble SCF, KSOM (3 mg/ml BSA): 144 zygotes, KSOM media with 3 mg/ml BSA. Early Bla: early blastocyst (less than 50% cavity), Bla: blastocyst (greater than 50% cavity), Expanded Bla: expanded blastocyst, Hatching Bla: hatching blastocyst. (GIF 170 kb)

10815_2010_9449_MOESM1_ESM.tif (3.3 mb)
High Resolution Image (TIFF 3329 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jung Jin Lim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jin Hee Eum
    • 1
  • Jeoung Eun Lee
    • 1
  • Eun Sun Kim
    • 1
  • Hyung Min Chung
    • 1
  • Tae Ki Yoon
    • 1
  • Kye-Seong Kim
    • 2
    Email author
  • Dong Ryul Lee
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Fertility Center, CHA Gangnam Medical CenterCHA UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of MedicineHanyang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical Science, College of Life ScienceCHA UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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