2011 Volume 57 Issue 2 Pages 236-241
DNA methylation is an important factor for the regulation of gene expression in early embryos. It is well known that the satellite I sequence is more heavily methylated in bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer (NT-SC) embryos than in embryos derived from in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, the methylation status of bovine embryos obtained by other procedures is not well known. To clarify DNA methylation levels of bovine embryos obtained from various procedures, we examined satellite I sequences in bovine blastocyst (BC) embryos derived from NT-SC, NT using embryonic blastomeres (NT-EM), in vivo (Vivo), IVF and parthenogenetic treatment (PA). Furthermore, in order to evaluate the efficacy of DNA demethylation by the NT procedure, we determined the DNA methylation levels in bovine embryos in which NT was recapitulated (Re-NT). Although the DNA methylation levels in the NT-SC embryos were higher than those in the other embryos, the NT-EM embryos exhibited lower DNA methylation levels. The satellite I sequence in the NT-SC embryos was more demethylated than that in the donor cells. Although the DNA methylation level in the individual NT-SC embryos showed variation, the full-term developmental efficacy of these embryos were not different. These findings suggest that the methylation level of the satellite I sequence at the BC stage is not related to the abnormalities of bovine embryos produced by NT-SC. There was no difference in methylation levels between Re-NT and NT-SC embryos. Our results indicated that the DNA methylation status differed among embryos produced by various methods and that at least some of the demethylation of the donor cell genome occurred in the recipient cytoplast after NT-SC, but the demethylation ability of the NT procedure was noted in the first NT but not in the second NT.