Activation of Akt/Protein Kinase B (PKB) by phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) controls several cellular functions largely studied in mammalian cells, including preimplantation embryos. We previously showed that early mouse embryos inherit active Akt from oocytes and that the intracellular localization of this enzyme at the two-cell stage depends on the T-cell leukemia/lymphoma 1 oncogenic protein, Tcl1. We have now investigated whether Akt isoforms, namely Akt1, Akt2 and Akt3, exert a specific role in blastomere proliferation during preimplantation embryo development. We show that, in contrast to other Akt family members, Akt2 enters male and female pronuclei of mouse preimplantation embryos at the late one-cell stage and thereafter maintains a nuclear localization during later embryo cleavage stages. Depleting one-cell embryos of single Akt family members by microinjecting Akt isoform-specific antibodies into wild-type zygotes, we observed that: (a) Akt2 is necessary for normal embryo progression through cleavage stages; and (b) the specific nuclear targeting of Akt2 in two-cell embryos depends on Tcl1. Our results indicate that preimplantation mouse embryos have a peculiar regulation of blastomere proliferation based on the activity of the Akt/PKB family member Akt2, which is mediated by the oncogenic protein Tcl1. Both Akt2 and Tcl1 are essential for early blastomere proliferation and embryo development.
- Akt/PKB isoforms
- mouse preimplantation embryos