Targeted Suppression of Connexin 43 in Ovine Preimplantation Embryos by RNA Interference Using Long Double-stranded RNA

  • Yan, Zhen (Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of China for Mammal Reproduction Biology and Biotechnology of Inner Mongolia University) ;
  • Ma, Yu Zhen (Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of China for Mammal Reproduction Biology and Biotechnology of Inner Mongolia University) ;
  • Liu, Dong jun (Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of China for Mammal Reproduction Biology and Biotechnology of Inner Mongolia University) ;
  • Cang, Ming (Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of China for Mammal Reproduction Biology and Biotechnology of Inner Mongolia University) ;
  • Wang, Rui (Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of China for Mammal Reproduction Biology and Biotechnology of Inner Mongolia University) ;
  • Bao, Shorgan (Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education of China for Mammal Reproduction Biology and Biotechnology of Inner Mongolia University)
  • Received : 2009.05.13
  • Accepted : 2009.09.29
  • Published : 2010.04.01


RNA interference (RNAi) is an acknowledged useful and effective tool to study gene function in various cells. Here, we suppressed the Connexin 43 (Cx 43) gene expression during in vitro development of ovine pre-implantation embryos using the RNAi method. The 353 bp Cx 43 double-stranded RNA was microinjected into in vitro fertilized ovine zygotes, and the levels of target mRNA and protein were investigated. Control groups included uninjected zygotes or those injected with RNase-free water. The dsRNA injection resulted in the specific reduction of Cx 43 transcripts as analyzed by quantitative real-time RT-PCR and decreased protein levels as shown by Western blot analysis at the blastocyst stage. Microinjection of Cx 43 dsRNA led to 20.3%, 21.7% and 34.5% blastocyst rates and 19.2%, 37.5% and 41.3% hatched blastocyst rates in Cx 43 dsRNA-injected, water-injected and uninjected groups, respectively. Then the RNAi could not significantly affect cell number and cell death rates of blastocysts. Therefore, suppression of Cx 43 dsRNA and proteins did not apparently affect the development potential of ovine pre-implantation embryos but may play a role in embryo quality. RNAi technology is a promising approach to study gene function in early ovine embryogenesis.


Connexin 43;RNA Interference;Ovine Embryo


Supported by : National Natural Science Foundation of China, Natural Science Foundation of Inner Mongolia of China


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