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EMBO J. 1996 Nov 15;15(22):6018-25.

Maternal and paternal genomes function independently in mouse ova in establishing expression of the imprinted genes Snrpn and Igf2r: no evidence for allelic trans-sensing and counting mechanisms.

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Division of Biology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA 91010-3000, USA.


It has often been suggested that the parental-specific expression of mammalian imprinted genes might be dependent on maternal-paternal intergenomic or interallelic interactions. Using quantitative allele-specific RT-PCR single nucleotide primer extension assays developed for two imprinted genes, Snrpn and Igf2r, we demonstrate: (i) No role for maternal-paternal allelic interactions: the modes of parental-specific expression of Snrpn and Igf2r in normal ova were unchanged in gynogenetic and androgenetic ova; the latter contain two maternal and two paternal genomes respectively, and cannot undergo maternal-paternal interactions. (ii) No role for allelic counting or exclusion mechanisms: in individual blastomeres of androgenetic ova, both paternal Snrpn alleles were active (Snrpn was not expressed in gynogenetic ova), and in individual gynogenetic and androgenetic blastomeres, both maternal and paternal Igf2r alleles, respectively, were active. (iii) No role for ploidy: the mode of parental-specific expression of Snrpn and Igf2r in normal diploid ova was unchanged in individual blastomeres of triploid and tetraploid ova. Thus, the maternal and paternal genomes function independently in establishing the pre-implantation mode of parental-specific expression of Snrpn and Igf2r, with no role for trans-allelic/genomic interaction phenomena. In addition, the results show that inactive and biallelic modes of expression of imprinted genes are potential mechanisms for the death of gynogenones and androgenones at the peri-implantation stage.

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