Analysis of Proteins Secreted by Mouse Embryos Developing in vivo and in vitro

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Proteins secreted by mouse blastocysts developing in vitro were compared to those from blastocysts developing in utero to determine if a simple medium supporting blastocyst development also supports secreted protein expression. In-vivo embryos were collected on days 3, 4, or 5 of pregnancy and incubated in 35S-methionine to produce conditioned medium containing released, labeled proteins. Embryos for culture were collected on day 3 and after 48 or 72 h labeled conditioned medium was produced. Labeled proteins were separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis and compared using a digital image analysis system. Day 3 embryos did not release proteins in detectable amounts, although synthesis of intracellular proteins was substantial. Day-4 and -5 blastocysts released proteins in increasing amount and complexity, consistent with previous results. When day-3 embryos were cultured in medium containing 4 mg/ml BSA for 48 h, secreted protein patterns were similar but not identical to those of day-5 uterine blastocysts. Although most of the proteins produced by uterine blastocysts were secreted by cultured embryos, differences were found in the relative quantities of certain proteins. Neither crystallized BSA nor polyvinyl alcohol at 4 mg/ml supported development of protein secretion as well as the crude fraction-V BSA. Blastocysts restricted to the oviduct also exhibited quantitative differences in protein secretion patterns compared to uterine blastocysts. Thus, although blastocyst development and the expression of many secreted proteins are supported outside the uterus, the full pattern of secretion characteristic of the peri-implantation embryo may be dependent on specific uterine influences.



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