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Animal and Nutritional Sciences



Background: Epigenetic regulation of oocyte-specific maternal factors is essential for oocyte and early embryonic development. KPNA7 is an oocyte-specific maternal factor, which controls transportation of nuclear proteins important for early embryonic development. To elucidate the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the controlled expression of KPNA7, both DNA methylation associated transcriptional silencing and microRNA (miRNA)-mediated mRNA degradation of KPNA7 were examined.

Results: Comparison of DNA methylation profiles at the proximal promoter of KPNA7 gene between oocyte and 6 different somatic tissues identified 3 oocyte-specific differentially methylated CpG sites. Expression of KPNA7 mRNA was reintroduced in bovine kidney-derived CCL2 cells after treatment with the methylation inhibitor, 5-aza-2′- deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR). Analysis of the promoter region of KPNA7 gene in CCL2 cells treated with 5-Aza-CdR showed a lighter methylation rate in all the CpG sites. Bioinformatic analysis predicted 4 miRNA-1296 binding sites in the coding region of KPNA7 mRNA. Ectopic co-expression of miRNA-1296 and KPNA7 in HEK293 cells led to reduced expression of KPNA7 protein. Quantitative real time PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis revealed that miRNA-1296 is expressed in oocytes and early stage embryos, and the expression reaches a peak level in 8-cell stage embryos, coincident with the time of embryonic genome activation and the start of declining of KPNA7 expression.

Conclusions: These results suggest that DNA methylation may account for oocyte-specific expression of KPNA7, and miRNA-1296 targeting the coding region of KPNA7 is a potential mechanism for KPNA7 transcript degradation during the maternal-to-zygotic transition.

Source Citation

Wang, L., Hand, J. M., Fu, L., Smith, G. W., & Yao, J. (2019). DNA methylation and miRNA-1296 act in concert to mediate spatiotemporal expression of KPNA7 during bovine oocyte and early embryonic development. BMC Developmental Biology, 19(1).


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