Vitamin E (VitE) is essential for vertebrate embryogenesis, but the mechanisms involved remain unknown. To study embryonic development, we fed zebrafish adults (>55 days) either VitE sufficient (E+) or deficient (E-) diets for >80 days, then the fish were spawned to generate E+ and E- embryos. To evaluate the transcriptional basis of the metabolic and phenotypic outcomes, E+ and E- embryos at 12, 18 and 24 h post-fertilization (hpf) were subjected to gene expression profiling by RNASeq. Hierarchical clustering, over-representation analyses and gene set enrichment analyses were performed with differentially expressed genes. E- embryos experienced overall disruption to gene expression associated with gene transcription, carbohydrate and energy metabolism, intracellular signaling and the formation of embryonic structures. mTOR was apparently a major controller of these changes. Thus, embryonic VitE deficiency results in genetic and transcriptional dysregulation as early as 12 hpf, leading to metabolic dysfunction and ultimately lethal outcomes.
Keywords: E+, VitE sufficient; E–, VitE deficient; VitE; hours post-fertilization; hpf; vitamin E; α-TTP; α-tocopherol transfer protein..