Biology of reproduction
In the present study the abundance of mRNAs for eukaryotic translation initiation factors eIF-1A (formerly known as eIF-4C), -2alpha, -4A, -4E, and -5 was examined in in vivo-derived mouse embryos throughout preimplantation development using a semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay. Although the mRNA profile for each gene is unique, only mRNA for eIF-1A transiently increases during embryonic gene activation (EGA) at the 2-cell stage, and this was confirmed by an independent hybridization-based assay. In in vitro-developed bovine embryos, mRNA for eIF-1A was transiently detected at the 8-cell stage, when the major activation of the genome occurs in this species. As in the mouse, detection in 8-cell bovine embryos was sensitive to the transcriptional inhibitor alpha-amanitin. It was also observed at the same time relative to cleavage in embryos cultured in defined medium under a reduced oxygen environment, and in medium supplemented with serum and somatic cells in 5% CO2 in air. Neither the chronology of early cleavage divisions nor the yield of bovine blastocysts differed in these culture media. Our results suggest that transient expression of eIF-1A in the mouse and cow is a conserved pattern of gene expression associated with EGA in mammals.