Obstetrics & Gynaecology Publications

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Developmental biology





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Na(+),K(+)-ATPase plays an essential role in mammalian blastocoel formation (cavitation) by driving trans-epithelial sodium transport. Previously, the alpha1 and beta1 subunit isoforms of this enzyme were identified in preimplantation mouse embryos and were assumed to be responsible for this function. Here we show that mRNAs encoding an additional alpha subunit isoform (alpha3) and the remaining two beta subunit isoforms are also present in preimplantation embryos. Whereas alpha3 mRNA accumulates between the four-cell and the blastocyst stages and thus results from embryonic transcription, the same could not be demonstrated for beta2 and beta3 mRNAs. Immunoblot analyses confirmed that these subunits are present in cavitating embryos. Using confocal immunofluorescence microscopy we found that alpha1 and beta1 subunits are concentrated in the basolateral membranes of the trophectoderm while being equally distributed in plasma membranes of the inner cell mass. In contrast, alpha3, beta2, and beta3 subunits were not detected in plasma membranes. Our current assessment, therefore, is that as many as six isozymes of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase could be involved in preimplantation development although it is primarily the alpha1beta1 isozyme that is responsible for blastocoel formation. Our findings imply that the regulation of sodium transport within the preimplantation mouse embryo is more complex than had been appreciated.

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