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Novel transcripts and alternatively spliced genes are associated with early development in bovine embryos

  • B. Zhang (a1) (a2), F. Peñagaricano (a3), H. Chen (a1) and H. Khatib (a3)

Infertility in cattle is a major concern of farmers worldwide and despite the enormous improvements in assisted reproduction technologies, the success rates of pregnancies are still low. Embryonic loss is considered one of the main factors of infertility in cattle. As such, the identification of genetic markers for embryo quality and development can help elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of embryos with the highest developmental potential. In a previous study, using next-generation RNA sequencing, we identified novel transcripts and alternatively spliced genes that were associated with embryo quality. The objectives of this study were to characterize these transcripts and validate their expression in new biological replications of embryos using quantitative real-time PCR. Two types of embryos differing in morphological and developmental statuses (blastocysts and degenerate embryos) were produced using in vitro fertilization. Quantitative expression of eight novel transcripts revealed a range of 2.5- to 90-fold difference in expression between degenerate embryos and blastocysts. Some of these novel transcripts showed sequence similarity to human and cattle genes known to affect differentiation, growth and development. In addition, expression analysis of alternative splicing isoforms of five genes (MYL6, NOP10, RNF187, RPS24 and RPS28) revealed significant differential expression of these isoforms in the different embryo types. Thus, results of this study suggest that novel transcripts and alternatively spliced genes, found to be differentially expressed between blastocysts and degenerate embryos, can be used as markers for blastocyst formation and development.

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Supplementary Table

Zhang Supplementary Table
Supplementary Table 1 Results of the BLAST analysis of novel transcripts

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