Messenger RNA expression patterns of histone-associated genes in bovine preimplantation embryos derived from different origins

Mol Reprod Dev. 2008 May;75(5):731-43. doi: 10.1002/mrd.20816.


Histone modification genes in bovine embryos: The mRNA expression pattern of histone-related genes was determined in bovine oocytes and embryos. We compared immature and in vitro-matured oocytes, either before or after enucleation and activation, in vitro produced embryos (zygotes, 8-16 cell stages, blastocysts), embryos cloned with female or male donor cells; parthenogenetic embryos, and in vivo-derived blastocysts to detect deviations from the normal expression pattern. A sensitive semi-quantitative endpoint RT-PCR assay was used to reveal differences in histone deacetylation [histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2)]; histone acetylation [histone acetyltransferase 1 (HAT1)]; histone methylation [histone methyltransferases (SUV39H1, G9A)]; heterochromatin formation [heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1)]; and chromatin-mediated transcription regulation [zygote arrest 1 (ZAR1)]. With the exception of ZAR1, these mRNAs were present throughout preimplantation development. The relative abundance of mRNAs for histone methyltransferases (SUV39H1 and G9A) and for heterochromatin-associated protein (HP1) differed significantly before and after activation of the bovine embryonic genome. The similarity of HAT1 gene expression in 8-16 cell embryos and blastocysts suggests that histone acetylation is primarily affected by in vitro culture only prior to embryonic genome activation. HDAC2 gene mRNA expression was not affected by in vitro culture and/or cloning before and after activation of the embryonic genome. The donor cell line affected mRNA expression patterns of genes involved in reprogramming cloned embryos suggesting epigenetic dysregulation. Results show that both in vitro production and somatic cloning alter the mRNA expression of histone modifying genes in bovine embryos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / cytology
  • Blastocyst / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Cloning, Organism / methods
  • Embryo Culture Techniques / methods
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Parthenogenesis / physiology
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Species Specificity


  • Histones
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger