The embryonic poly(A)-binding protein (EPAB) functions in the translational regulation of the maternal messenger RNAs (mRNAs) required during oocyte maturation, fertilization, and early embryo development. Since there is no antibody specific to mammalian EPAB protein, all studies related to the Epab gene could be performed at the mRNA levels except for the investigations in the Xenopus. In this study, we have produced an EPAB-specific antibody. When we examined its expressional distribution in the mouse gonadal and somatic tissues, the EPAB protein was found to be expressed only in the mouse ovary and testis tissues, but it is undetectable level in the somatic tissues including stomach, liver, heart, small intestine, and kidney. Additionally, the spatial and temporal expression patterns of the EPAB and poly(A)-binding protein cytoplasmic 1 (PABPC1) proteins were analyzed in the mouse germinal vesicle (GV) and metaphase II (MII) oocytes, one-cell, and two-cell embryos. While EPAB expression gradually decreased from GV oocytes to two-cell embryos, the PABPC1 protein level progressively increased from GV oocytes to one-cell embryos and remarkably declined in the two-cell embryos ( P < 0.05). We have also described herein that the EPAB protein interacted with Epab, Pabpc1, Ccnb1, Gdf9, and Bmp15 mRNAs dependent upon the developmental stages of the mouse oocytes and early embryos. As a result, we have first produced an EPAB-specific antibody and characterized its expression patterns and interacting mRNAs in the mouse oocytes and early embryos. The findings suggest that EPAB in cooperation with PABPC1 implicate in the translational control of maternal mRNAs during oogenesis and early embryo development.
Keywords: early embryo; embryonic poly(A)-binding protein; oocyte; poly(A)-binding protein cytoplasmic 1; translation.
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