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Post-Transcriptional Control of Gene Expression in Mouse Early Embryo Development: A View from the Tip of the Iceberg
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A Reverse Transcriptase-Dependent Mechanism Is Essential for Murine Preimplantation Development

Italian National Institute of Health (ISS), Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
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Genes 2011, 2(2), 360-373; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes2020360
Received: 6 April 2011 / Revised: 6 May 2011 / Accepted: 10 May 2011 / Published: 18 May 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Early Mouse Embryo as a Model Organism for Reprogramming)
LINE-1 (Long Interspersed Nuclear elements) and HERVs (Human Endogenous Retroviruses) are two families of retrotransposons which together account for about 28% of the human genome. Genes harbored within LINE-1 and HERV retrotransposons, particularly that encoding the reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme, are generally expressed at low levels in differentiated cells, but their expression is up-regulated in embryonic tissues and transformed cells. Here we review evidence indicating that the LINE-1-encoded RT plays regulatory roles in early embryonic development. Indeed, antisense-mediated inhibition of expression of a highly expressed LINE-1 family in mouse zygotes caused developmental arrest at the two- or four-cell embryo stages. Development is also arrested when the embryo endogenous RT activity is pharmacologically inhibited by nevirapine, an RT inhibitor currently employed in AIDS treatment. The arrest of embryonic development is irreversible even after RT inhibition is removed and it is associated with subverted gene expression profiles. These data indicate an early requirement for LINE-1-encoded RT to support early developmental progression. Consistent with this, recent findings indicate that a reverse transcription wave is triggered in the zygote a few hours after fertilization and is propagated at least through the first two rounds of cell division. On the whole these findings suggest that reverse transcription is strictly required in early embryos as a key component of a novel RT-dependent mechanism that regulated the proper unfolding of the developmental program. View Full-Text
Keywords: preimplantation embryo development; retrotransposon; LINE-1; reverse transcriptase inhibitors; tumorigenesis preimplantation embryo development; retrotransposon; LINE-1; reverse transcriptase inhibitors; tumorigenesis
MDPI and ACS Style

Sciamanna, I.; Vitullo, P.; Curatolo, A.; Spadafora, C. A Reverse Transcriptase-Dependent Mechanism Is Essential for Murine Preimplantation Development. Genes 2011, 2, 360-373.

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