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Dev Biol. 2009 Apr 1;328(1):140-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.01.018. Epub 2009 Jan 23.

Maternally encoded stem-loop-binding protein is degraded in 2-cell mouse embryos by the co-ordinated activity of two separately regulated pathways.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.


Oocytes accumulate mRNAs and proteins that direct early embryonic development. Although subsequent development requires the timely degradation of these maternal products, little is known of the underlying mechanisms. The stem-loop-binding protein (SLBP), which regulates the stability and translation of mRNAs encoding histones and is synthesized during S-phase and degraded during G2 in somatic cells, accumulates during oogenesis. Maternal SLBP is required for mouse embryos to develop beyond the 2-cell stage, but must be degraded to allow the cell-cycle-regulated expression of somatic cells to be established. We report that the quantity of maternal SLBP changes little following fertilization until 44-52 h post-hCG, corresponding to mid-/late G2 of the 2-cell stage, when it decreases by 75%. Efficient degradation requires two pathways. The first requires activity of cyclin-dependent kinases (cdk) and embryonic transcription, preferentially targets nuclear SLBP, and likely corresponds to the pathway that degrades SLBP at G2 in somatic cells. The second does not require cdk activity or transcription and becomes active at 44-52 h post-hCG independently of cell-cycle progression to mid-/late G2, but is not solely regulated by the time elapsed since hCG injection. Thus, the co-ordinated activity of two separately regulated pathways eliminates maternally encoded SLBP from early mouse embryos.

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