The Journal of biological chemistry
Na/K-ATPase plays an important role in mediating blastocyst formation. Despite the expression of multiple Na/K-ATPase alpha and beta isoforms during mouse preimplantation development, only the alpha1 and beta1 isoforms have been localized to the basolateral membrane regions of the trophectoderm. The aim of the present study was to selectively down-regulate the Na/K-ATPase beta1 subunit employing microinjection of mouse 1 cell zygotes with small interfering RNA (siRNA) oligos. Experiments comprised of non-injected controls and two groups microinjected with either Stealthtrade mark Na/K-ATPase beta1 subunit oligos or nonspecific Stealthtrade mark siRNA as control. Development to the 2-, 4-, 8-, and 16-cell and morula stages did not vary between the three groups. However, only 2.3% of the embryos microinjected with Na/K-ATPase beta1 subunit siRNA oligos developed to the blastocyst stage as compared with 73% for control-injected and 91% for non-injected controls. Na/K-ATPase beta1 subunit down-regulation was validated by employing reverse transcription-PCR and whole-mount immunofluorescence methods to demonstrate that Na/K-ATPase beta1 subunit mRNAs and protein were not detectable in beta1 subunit siRNA-microinjected embryos. Aggregation chimera experiments between beta1 subunit siRNA-microinjected embryos and controls demonstrated that blockade of blastocyst formation was reversible. The distribution of Na/K-ATPase alpha1 and tight junction-associated proteins occludin and ZO-1 were compared among the three treatment groups. No differences in protein distribution were observed between control groups; however, all three polypeptides displayed an aberrant distribution in Na/K-ATPase beta1 subunit siRNA-microinjected embryos. Our results demonstrate that the beta1 subunit of the Na/K-ATPase is required for blastocyst formation and that this subunit is also required to maintain a normal Na/K-ATPase distribution and localization of tight junction-associated polypeptides during preimplantation development.