Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 503–513 | Cite as

Superovulation alters DNA methyltransferase protein expression in mouse oocytes and early embryos

  • Fatma Uysal
  • Saffet Ozturk
  • Gokhan Akkoyunlu
Embryo Biology



DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that plays critical roles during mammalian oocyte and preimplantation embryo development. It is achieved by adding a methyl group to the fifth carbon atom of cytosine residues within cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) and non-CpG dinucleotide sites using DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) enzymes for de novo and maintenance methylation processes. DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B play important roles in establishing methylation of developmentally related genes in oocytes and early embryos. The purpose of this study is to identify the effect of superovulation on the expression and subcellular localizations of these three DNMT enzymes in the mouse oocytes and early embryos.


Three groups composed of control, normal dose [5 IU pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) and 5 IU human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)], and high dose [7.5 IU PMSG and 7.5 IU hCG] were created from 4–5-week-old female BALB/c mice. The relative expression and subcellular localizations of the DNMT proteins in the control and experiment groups have been characterized by using immunofluorescence staining subsequently analyzed in detailed.


DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B protein expression in the germinal vesicle and metaphase II oocytes and in one-cell and two-cell embryos differed significantly when some of the normal- and high-dose groups were compared with the control counterparts.


This study has demonstrated for the first time that superovulation alters expression levels of the DNMT proteins, a finding that indicates that certain developmental defects in superovulated oocytes and early embryos may result from impaired DNA methylation processes.


DNMT DNA methylation Early embryo Oocyte Superovulation 


Author’s contribution

F. Uysal performed the experiments. F. Uysal, S. Ozturk, and G. Akkoyunlu analyzed the data. F. Uysal, S. Ozturk, and G. Akkoyunlu wrote the manuscript.


This study was supported by the Akdeniz University Scientific Research Projects Coordination Unit (Project Number: 2014.02.0122.013).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Histology and Embryology, School of MedicineAkdeniz UniversityAntalyaTurkey

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