Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 2001 Dec 1;240(1):182-93.

Exogenous amino acids regulate trophectoderm differentiation in the mouse blastocyst through an mTOR-dependent pathway.

Author information

Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


At the late blastocyst stage, the epithelial trophectoderm cells of the mammalian embryo undergo a phenotypic change that allows them to invade into the uterine stroma and make contact with the maternal circulation. This step can be regulated in vitro by the availability of amino acids. Embryos cultured in defined medium lacking amino acids cannot form trophoblast cell outgrowths on fibronectin, an in vitro model of implantation, but remain viable for up to 3 days in culture and will form outgrowths when transferred into complete medium. The amino acid requirement is a developmentally regulated permissive event that occurs during a 4- to 8-h period at the early blastocyst stage. Amino acids affect spreading competence specifically by regulating the onset of protrusive activity and not the onset of integrin activation. Rapamycin, a specific inhibitor of the kinase mTOR/FRAP/RAFT1, blocks amino acid stimulation of embryo outgrowth, demonstrating that mTOR is required for the initiation of trophectoderm protrusive activity. Inhibition of global protein translation with cycloheximide also inhibits amino acid-dependent signals, suggesting that mTOR regulates the translation of proteins required for trophoblast differentiation. Our data suggest that mTOR activity has a developmental regulatory function in trophectoderm differentiation that may serve to coordinate embryo and uterus at the time of implantation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center