Abstract #61

# 61
R. P. Nociti*1,2, R. V. Sampaio1,3, V. F. M. H. de Lima2, R. M. Schultz3,4, P. J. Ross1, 1University of California, Davis, CA, USA;, 2University of Estadual Paulista, Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil;, 3University of São Paulo, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil;, 4University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Bovine pre-implantation embryos can develop in the absence of gene expression up to the 8/16-cell stage, the time when the major embryonic genome activation (EGA) occurs. Some embryonic genes, however, are transcribed before EGA (minor EGA). This study used a reversible inhibitor of RNA Polymerase II (5,6 dichlorobenzimidazole 1-β-D-ribofuranoside; DRB) to assess the importance of minor EGA for development to the blastocyst stage. Oocytes were matured and inseminated in vitro, and the fertilized eggs were cultured in supplemented KSOMaa and allocated to different treatments 16 h post-insemination (hpi). Development was recorded at 44 and 72 hpi, and the incidence of blastocyst formation on Day 7 (IVF = Day 0) was recorded. Data were analysed by ANOVA followed by Duncan test. First, we tested different DRB concentrations [50 μm (D50), 75 μm (D75), 100 μm (D100), and dimethyl sulfoxide vehicle control (CTRL)] to block development to blastocyst when continuously present. Only embryos in CTRL produced blastocysts (45.0 ± 5.8%; 4 replicates with a total of 391 oocytes examined). No difference in development was observed at 44 h (57.9 ± 16.5, 53.3 ± 10.5, 60.5 ± 19.0, and 52.3 ± 5.8% for D50, D75, D100, and CTRL, respectively) and 72 h (78.9 ± 8.8, 66.1 ± 11.7, 71.5 ± 16.5, and 70.8 ± 5.6% for D50, D75, D100, and CTRL, respectively). Next, in 7 replicates (751 oocytes) we determined the effect of blocking transcription (50 μm DRB) spanning 2 embryo stages (periods of 28 h), initiated at 16 hpi (1&2C), 30 hpi (2&4C), and 44 hpi (4&8C). Controls included DRB treatment from 16 to 72 hpi (1–8C) and CTRL. There was no difference in development at 44 and 72 h. The incidence of blastocyst formation, however, was significantly decreased in all treatment groups compared with CTRL (27.7 ± 4.7; 15.1 ± 3.5; 23.3 ± 3.1; 20.5 ± 1.9; and 42.1 ± 3.2% for 1&2C, 2&4C, 4&8C, 1–8C, and CTRL, respectively). Finally, in 12 replicates (1499 oocytes), the effect of blocking transcription for 14-h periods, spanning mostly a unique cleavage stage, was evaluated. The DRB treatment (50 μm) started at 16 hpi (1C), 30 hpi (2C), 44 hpi (4C), and 58 hpi (8C). Furthermore, 1–16C and CTRL treatments were included. No difference in development at 44 and 72 h were observed. Development to the blastocyst was significantly lower from CTRL (46.0 ± 3.2%) in 2C, 4C, 8C, and 1–16C (28.9 ± 3.9, 26.1 ± 4.2, 30.1 ± 4.8, and 18.9 ± 3.2%, respectively) but not in 1C (34.7 ± 4.4%). In summary, continuous transcriptional inhibition using DRB resulted in a developmental block at the time of major EGA, similar to α-amanitin treatment (an irreversible RNA Polymerase II inhibitor). Transcriptional inhibition during single cleavage stages was sufficient to decrease the developmental potential of the embryo. We conclude that minor EGA has an important role for bovine development.