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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2011;23(4):591-602. doi: 10.1071/RD10243.

Gene expression analysis of bovine blastocysts produced by parthenogenic activation or fertilisation.

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Centre de Recherche en Biologie de la Reproduction, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada.


The processes underlying the very first moments of embryonic development are still not well characterised in mammals. To better define the kinetics of events taking place following fertilisation, it would be best to have perfect synchronisation of sperm entry. With fertilisation occurring during a time interval of 6 to 12h in the same group of fertilised oocytes, this causes a major variation in the time of activation of embryonic development. Bovine parthenogenesis could potentially result in better synchronisation and, if so, would offer a better model for studying developmental competence. In the present study, bovine oocytes were either parthenogenetically activated or fertilised and cultured in vitro for 7 days. Gene expression analysis for those two groups of embryos at early and expanded stages was performed with BlueChip, a customised 2000-cDNA array developed in our laboratory and enriched in clones from various stages of bovine embryo development. The microarray data analysis revealed that only a few genes were differentially expressed, showing the relative similarity between those two kinds of embryos. Nevertheless, the fact that we obtained a similar diversity of developmental stages with parthenotes suggests that synchronisation is more oocyte-specific than sperm entry-time related. We then analysed our data with Ingenuity pathway analysis. Networks of genes involved in blastocyst implantation but also previous stages of embryo development, like maternal-to-embryonic transition, were identified. This new information allows us to better understand the regulatory mechanisms of embryonic development associated with embryo status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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