Stem Cells and Development
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The p66Shc adaptor protein regulates apoptosis and senescence during early mammalian development. However, p66Shc expression during mouse preimplantation development is upregulated at the blastocyst stage. Our objective was to determine the biological function of p66Shc during mouse blastocyst development. In this study, we demonstrate that a reduced p66Shc transcript abundance following its short interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown alters the spatiotemporal expression of cell lineage-associated transcription factors in the inner cell mass (ICM) of the mouse blastocyst. P66Shc knockdown blastocysts restrict OCT3/4 earlier to the inner cells of the early blastocyst and have ICMs containing significantly higher OCT3/4 levels, more GATA4-positive cells, and fewer NANOG-positive cells. P66Shc knockdown blastocysts also show a significantly reduced ability to form ICM-derived outgrowths when explanted in vitro. The increase in cells expressing primitive endoderm markers may be due to increased ERK1/2 activity, as it is reversed by ERK1/2 inhibition. These results suggest that p66Shc may regulate the relative abundance and timing of lineage-associated transcription factor expression in the blastocyst ICM.