The function of the m6A methyltransferase METTL3 in goat early embryo development under hypoxic and normoxic conditions

Theriogenology. 2022 Jan 1;177:140-150. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2021.10.017. Epub 2021 Oct 20.


It has been reported that N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3) plays an important role in zygote genome activation during embryonic development, but the effects of METTL3 under oxidative stress in the early development of goat embryos remain largely unknown. In this study, zygotes were monitored at 72 and 168 h after fertilization, and they developed to the 8-cell stage and blastocyst stage under hypoxic conditions and normoxic conditions. Single-cell transcriptome sequencing was performed at the 8-cell stage and the blastocyst stage in the goat embryos, the differentially expressed METTL3 was screened from the sequencing results. We found that microinjection of small interfering RNA (siRNA) against METTL3 caused developmental arrest, both 8-cell rates (37.45 ± 2.21% vs. 47.09 ± 1.38%; P < 0.01) and blastocyst rates of Si-METTL3 (12.17% ± 2.84 vs. 20.83 ± 3.61%; P < 0.01) in Si-METTL3 group were significantly decreased compared with that of control under hypoxic conditions, significant changes were found in the m6A-related genes and the expression levels of critical transcription factors, such as, NANOG, GATA3, CDX2 and SOX17, were decreased. This study revealed the key role of METTL3 in the regulation of embryonic development under oxidative stress, and laid the foundation for further study of the crucial mechanism of oxidative stress during the early embryonic development of goats.

Keywords: DEGs; Embryo development; Goat; METTL3; Oxidative stress; RNA-seq; m6A.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine
  • Animals
  • Embryonic Development
  • Goats*
  • Methyltransferases* / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Methyltransferases
  • Adenosine