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Reprod Biomed Online. 2006 Sep;13(3):394-403.

Use of Chuk as an internal standard suitable for quantitative RT-PCR in mouse preimplantation embryos.

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  • 1Developmental Genomics and Ageing Section, Laboratory of Genetics, National Institute on Ageing, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Analysis of gene expression changes during preimplantation development by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) requires appropriate internal standards. Ideally, such a gene should show a constant level of transcripts per embryo across all preimplantation stages from unfertilized eggs to blastocysts. By analysing the microarray-based gene expression profiles of preimplantation embryos, it was found that a conserved helix-loop-helix ubiquitous kinase gene (Chuk, also known as IkappaB kinase alpha, IKKalpha or IKK1) satisfied this criterion. To test the utility of this gene as an internal standard for Q-PCR, the expression levels of two known genes (Nalp5/Mater, Pou5f1/Oct3/Oct4) were normalized by Chuk and other housekeeping genes (Actb, Gapdh, Eef1a1, and H2afz) and demonstrated that the former was more consistent with the expression patterns obtained by a whole-mount in-situ hybridization than those reported previously with the latter. It is concluded that Chuk, unlike other commonly used normalization controls, is a reliable and suitable internal standard for measuring gene expression levels by Q-PCR in mouse oocytes and preimplantation embryos.

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