Immunofluorescence assessment of the timing of appearance and cellular distribution of Na/K-ATPase during mouse embryogenesis.
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We have employed immunofluorescence with a rat kidney Na+/K+-ATPase polyclonal antibody to investigate the cellular distribution and timing of appearance of this enzyme during preimplantation development. The enzyme is first detected in the late morula within the cytoplasm of each blastomere. When cavitation begins this distribution changes dramatically to a ring encircling the blastocoel, restricted to the basolateral cell margins. Using this enzyme as a marker for cavitation, we examined its expression in embryos that had been treated with wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which causes cleavage arrest and was reported to trigger premature compaction- and cavitation-like events in early cleavage stages (L. V. Johnson, 1986, Dev. Biol. 113, 1-9). Although WGA-treated 2-,4-, and 8-cell embryos quickly underwent compaction- and cavitation-like events, no Na+/K+-ATPase expression was observed. Thus the WGA effect does not likely involve acceleration of the developmental program for cavitation. Embryos arrested at the 8-cell stage but cultured overnight to Day 4, however, expressed the enzyme in the typical blastocyst pattern (around each fluid-filled cavity). We conclude that Na+/K+-ATPase expression is initiated or increases dramatically in the late morula and is independent of cytokinesis. The enzyme assumes a distribution during cavitation consistent with its presumed role in transtrophectodermal fluid transport.