2018 Volume 64 Issue 1 Pages 65-74
Maternal RNA/protein degradation and zygotic genome activation (ZGA), occurring during maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), are the first essential events for the development of pre-implantation embryos. Previously, we have shown the importance of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) for initiation of minor ZGA at the 1-cell stage of mouse embryos. However, little is known about the mechanism of involvement of the UPS-degraded maternal proteins in ZGA. In this study, we investigated the effect of inhibiting maternal protein degradation by the reversible proteasome inhibitor, MG132, on post-implantation development and ZGA regulation during early cleavage stages. Our study revealed that zygotic transcription by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) at the 1-cell stage was delayed and the full-term development was affected by transient proteasome inhibition during 1 to 9 h post-insemination (hpi). Furthermore, we found that the transient inhibition of proteasome activity at the 2-cell stage delayed the onset of transcription of some major ZGA genes. These results support the model hypothesizing the requirement of sequential degradation of maternal proteins by UPS for the proper onset of ZGA and normal progression of MZT in early mouse embryos.