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Mol Reprod Dev. 2005 Aug;71(4):399-404.

Eomesodermin is expressed in mouse oocytes and pre-implantation embryos.

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Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.


T-box genes are a highly conserved family of genes encoding transcription factors, which share a conserved DNA binding domain (the T-box). Appropriate temporal and spatial expression of this gene family is critical for gastrulation and organogenesis in a number of species. The T-box containing gene Eomesodermin was first identified in Xenopus, where it plays a critical role in mesoderm formation. In situ analyses in mice have described the expression patterns of the mouse ortholog of this gene mEomesodermin (mEomes) at the time of implantation and during fetal development. Additional studies involving the disruption of the mEomes gene, have demonstrated an additional role for mEomes in trophoblast formation. However, these analyses did not address the possibility that maternally encoded or pre-blastocyst zygotic transcription of mEomes may also contribute to embryonic development. We show here that mEomes mRNA is present prior to blastocyst formation, and that the protein product of mEomes is associated with nuclear DNA during oocyte development and persistently localizes within all nuclei of the preimplantation embryo until the early blastocyst stage. mEomes protein is associated with the meiotic spindle in the unfertilized egg and with the mitotic spindle at each cell division. Our results are consistent with mEomesodermin having a role in early preimplantation development and inner cell mass formation in addition to its function in the trophoblast lineage.

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