The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 39: 659 - 662 (1995)

Vol 39, Issue 4

ENDO A cytokeratin expression in the inner cell mass of parthenogenetic mouse embryos

Published: 30 November -0001

J A Uranga, R G Tobalina, A Alonso and J Arechaga

Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, University of Basque Country, Leioa, Spain.


During the preimplantation period of development, the first cellular polarization and diversification of the mouse embryo occurs. This process starts at the eight-cell stage and is directly driven by the cytoskeleton. Cell polarization finally leads to the first embryonic epithelium, the trophectoderm, characterized by the presence of cytokeratins. It has not been described whether genomic imprinting, an epigenetic modification of certain genes depending on the parent-of-origin, affects preimplantation development. However, implantation is one of the steps in which an exceptionally high mortality rate is observed in mouse parthenogenetic embryos, a phenomenon that may be influenced by a deficiency in trophectoderm differentiation. To assess this possibility we analyzed the expression of various cytoskeletal proteins in late preimplanted embryos. No differences were observed in the expression of microtubules and microfilaments, but surprisingly, the undifferentiated cells of the parthenogenetic inner cell mass showed distinct cytokeratin staining. This anomalous cytoskeleton expression may be considered as one of the earliest manifestation described to date of the effect of genomic imprinting in development.

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