Temporal and spatial control of gene expression in early embryos of farm animals

Tiziana A L Brevini, Fabiana Cillo, Stefania Antonini, Valentina Tosetti, Fulvio Gandolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A gradual transition from oocyte-derived mRNA and proteins to full embryonic transcription characterises early embryonic development. Messenger RNAs and proteins of maternal origin are accumulated into the oocyte throughout its growth in the ovary. Upon fertilisation, several mechanisms are activated that control the appropriate use of such material and prepare for the synthesis of new products. The present review will describe some of the mechanisms active in early embryos of domestic species. Data will be presented on the control of gene expression by the 3′ untranslated regions and their interaction with specialised sequences at the 5′ cap end. The process of RNA sorting and localisation, initially described in different cell types and in oocytes of lower species, will also be discussed, particularly in relation to its possible role in regulating early pig development. Finally, specific genes involved in the activation of cattle embryonic transcription will be described. This brief overview will provide some suggestions on how these different mechanisms may be integrated and cooperate to ensure the correct initiation of embryonic development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Cytoplasmic streaming
  • Maternal-embryonic transition
  • mRNA polyadenylation
  • Staufen
  • Zygote arrest 1 (Zar1)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Endocrinology


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