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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Gap junctional communication in the preimplantation mouse embryo.

In this study, we examined cell-to-cell communication via gap junctional channels between the cells of the early mouse embryo from the 2-cell stage to the preimplantation blastocyst stage. The extent of communication was examined by monitoring for the presence of ionic coupling, the transfer of injected fluorescein (molecular weight 330) and the transfer of injected horseradish peroxidase (molecular weight 40,000). In the 2-cell, 4-cell and precompaction 8-cell embryos, cytoplasmic bridges between sister blastomeres were responsible for ionic coupling and the transfer of injected fluorescein as well as the transfer of injected horseradish peroxidase.In contrast, no communication was observed between blastomeres from different sister pairs. Junction-mediated intercellular communication was unequivocably detected for the first time in the embryo at the early compaction stage (late 8-cell embryo). At that stage, ionic coupling was present and fluorescein injected into one cell spread to all eight cells of the embryo. Injected horseradish peroxidase was passed to only one other cell, however, again indicating the presence of cytoplasmic bridges between sister blastomeres. Junctional communication with respect to both ionic coupling and dye transfer was retained between all the cells throughout compaction. At the blastocyst stage, trophoblast cells of the blastocyst were linked by junctional channels to other trophoblast cells as well as to cells of the inner cell mass, as indicated by the spread of injected fluorescein. In addition, the extent of communication between the cells of the inner cell mass was examined in inner cell masses isolated by immunosurgery; both ionic coupling and the complete spread of injected fluorescein were observed.[1]


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