Genome restructuring in mouse embryos during reprogramming and early development

Dev Biol. 2006 Apr 15;292(2):317-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.01.009.


Although a growing number of studies investigates functional genome organization in somatic cell nuclei, it is largely unknown how mammalian genome organization is established during embryogenesis. To address this question, we investigated chromo center formation and the peculiar arrangements of chromosome domains in early mouse embryos. At the one-cell stage, we observed characteristic arrangements of chromosomes and chromo center components. Subsequently, starting with the burst of zygotic genome transcription major rearrangements led to the establishment of somatic type chromo centers with a defined spatio-temporal organization. These processes appeared to be completed at the blastocyst stage with the onset of cell differentiation. During the same developmental period, a fraction of pericentric heterochromatin that was late replicating in the first cycle underwent switches in replication timing, spatial organization and epigenetic marks. Cloning experiments revealed that the genome organization typical for more advanced stages was quickly reverted into the one-cell stage-specific form after nuclear transfer, supporting the idea that reprogramming associated genome remodeling in normal and cloned embryos is determined by cytoplasmic factors. Together, the results suggest that distinct but characteristic forms of nuclear genome organization are required for genome reprogramming in early embryos and for proper regulation of differential gene expression patterns at later stages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / cytology
  • Blastocyst / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Cell Nucleolus / metabolism
  • Centromere / metabolism
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomes / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Transfer Techniques
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rhodamines
  • Time Factors


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Chromatin
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Rhodamines
  • DNA
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate