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
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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.
KeywordsStem 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.
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