Initiation of transcription and nucleologenesis in equine embryos. Academic Article uri icon


  • The time of activation of the embryonic genome (maternal-embryonic transition) in equine embryos was investigated by assessing incorporation of 3H-uridine and nucleolar development. In Experiment 1, embryos were recovered from the oviduct (n = 15) and the uterus (n = 3). Recovered embryos were assessed for morphologic development and quality score. Recovered embryos with less than 8 cells (two cells, n = 4; four cells, n = 5; five cells, n = 2) were incubated with 3H-uridine (560 microCi/ml) for 10 hr, while eight-cell embryos (n = 2), morulae (n = 2), and blastocysts (n = 3) were incubated with 280 microCi/ml for 0.5-1 hr. At the end of incubation, embryos were washed twice in PBS with 10% FBS and incubated for 30 min with 2.5 mg/ml of unlabelled uridine. Embryos were spread onto glass slides, dipped into emulsion, and exposed for 8 d, then developed and counterstained with Giemsa and propidium iodide. Embryos at the blastocyst, morula, eight-cell, and five-cell stages incorporated 3H-uridine into their cell nuclei as detected by autoradiography. In a second experiment, nucleologenesis in equine embryos was examined by transmission electron microscopy. Nucleoli or nucleolar precursors were found in 12 of 23 embryos examined. Most embryos in the four- to six-cell stage (n = 7) had nucleolar precursor bodies (npb) consisting of homogeneous fibrillar structures. Two five- to six-cell embryos also possessed reticulated nucleoli with both fibrillar and granular components as did all eight-cell embryos (n = 3). Nucleoli in one morula and one blastocyst were reticulated with prominent granular components, fibrillar components, and apparent fibrillar centers. These results indicate that incorporation of 3H-uridine and the formation of functional nucleoli with typical fibrillar and granular components occurs between the four- to eight-cell stage in equine embryos.

published proceedings

  • Mol Reprod Dev

author list (cited authors)

  • Brinsko, S. P., Ball, B. A., Ignotz, G. G., Thomas, P. G., Currie, W. B., & Ellington, J. E.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Brinsko, SP||Ball, BA||Ignotz, GG||Thomas, PG||Currie, WB||Ellington, JE

publication date

  • November 1995