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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Developmental Regulated Expression of Anti- and Pro-Apoptotic BCL-2 Family Genes During Human Early Embryonic Development

Author(s): I. Boumela, S. Assou, D. Haouzi, H. Déchaud, O. Ait-Ahmed and S. Hamamah

Volume 21, Issue 11, 2014

Page: [1361 - 1369] Pages: 9

DOI: 10.2174/09298673113206660278

Price: $65


Apoptotic cell death has been reported in human oocytes and preimplantation embryos under in vivo and in vitro conditions. BCL-2 family proteins comprise both anti- and pro-apoptotic members, which are likely to play a key role in controlling oocyte and early embryo survival. However, very limited data are available on their expression kinetics during human early embryonic development. Using our DNA microarray data, we analyzed the expression pattern of 21 BCL-2 family genes in human mature MII oocytes, day 3 embryos and day 5/6 blastocysts from patients who underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF). Selected genes were further validated by qRT-PCR and their subcellular localization analyzed by immunofluorescence confocal microscopy. Our results suggest a switch from oocyte-inherited BCL-2 family transcripts, such as BCL2L10, to embryo-produced transcripts after embryonic genome activation, including BIK, BCL2L11 and NOXA. Moreover, the pro-apoptotic gene BCL2L13 was constitutively expressed throughout human early embryonic development. Remarkably, day 3 embryos expressed more BCL-2 pro-apoptotic genes than mature MII oocytes and day 5/6 blastocysts, suggesting that embryos at this stage are more prone to apoptosis. This is further supported by an absence of cleaved Caspase-3 in the oocyte and its presence in the embryo. Using a drug that induces apoptosis (gambogic acid), we were able to show activated Caspase-3 in the oocyte in addition to an alteration of BCL2L13 protein localization. Similarly BCL2L13 localization was altered in degenerated oocytes. This study opens new perspectives for understanding the molecular regulation of human oocyte and pre-implantation embryo survival and death.

Keywords: Apoptosis, BCL-2 family, blastocyst, early embryo, gambogic acid, human oocyte.

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