Purpose: To identify the secreted proteins of murine embryos grown in vitro.
Methods: Two-cell mouse embryos (n=432) were randomly allocated to culture to the blastocyst stage in protein-free and in protein-supplemented (3 % BSA) media. Proteins were separated by SDS-PAGE; bands were visualized by coomassie staining, followed by in-gel trypsin digestion and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. RT-PCR and confocal microscopy were used to confirm gene/protein expression in blastocysts.
Results: Of all individually identified proteins, 34 and 23 were found in embryos cultured without and with BSA, respectively, and 20 were common. Identified proteins having an N-terminal secretory sequence or transmembrane domains located on the extracellular backbone were postulated as secreted proteins. Gene and protein expression for two selected molecules were confirmed. Functional analysis revealed over-represented processes related to lipid metabolism, cyclase activity, and cell adhesion/membrane functions.
Conclusions: This study provided evidence to further characterize secreted proteins by mouse embryos grown from the 2-cell to the blastocyst stage in vitro. Because of homology between murine and human, these results may provide information to be translated to the clinical setting.