The early stage embryogenesis of higher eukaryotes lacks some of the damage response pathways such as G1/S checkpoint, G2/M checkpoint and apoptosis. We examined here the damage response of preimplantation stage embryos after fertilization with 6 Gy irradiated sperm. Sperm-irradiated embryos developed normally for the first 2.5 days, but started to exhibit a developmental delay at day 3.5. p21 was activated in the delayed embryos, which carried numerous micronuclei owing to delayed chromosome instability. Apoptosis was observed predominantly in the inner cell mass of the day 4.0 embryos. Sperm-irradiated p21-/- embryos lacked the delay, but chromosome instability and apoptosis were more pronounced than the corresponding p21 wild-type embryos. We conclude from the result that damage responses come in a stage-specific manner during preimplantation stage development; p53-dependent S checkpoint at the zygote stage, p21-mediated cell cycle arrest at the morula/blastocyst stages and apoptosis after the blastocyst stage in the inner cell mass.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research