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Annealing control primer system identifies differentially expressed genes in blastocyst-stage porcine parthenotes

  • Hwa Young Lee (a1), Xiang-Shun Cui (a1) (a2), Kyung-Ah Lee (a3) and Nam-Hyung Kim (a1)


There is very little information available on stage-specific gene expression during early embryo development, particularly in the pig. Here, we accurately identified the genes that are specifically or prominently expressed in parthenogenetic porcine blastocysts as compared with 2-cell stage embryos. We accomplished this by using a PCR technology regulated by annealing control primers (ACPs). By utilizing 120 ACPs, a total of 46 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of genes that are differentially expressed in blastocysts as compared with 2-cell stage embryos were cloned and sequenced. The cloned genes or ESTs all exhibited significant sequence similarity with known genes or ESTs of other species. Of the known genes, six genes [renin-binding protein (RNBP), BMDP, solute carrier family 25 (SLC25A6), MTHFD1, TRK-fused gene (TFG), spermidine synthase (SRM)] were selected and their stage-specific expression levels in porcine parthenotes were determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction at the 1-, 2-, 4-cell, morula and blastocyst stages. While RNBP, BMDP, SLC25A6, MTGFD1 and SRM were highly expressed only at the blastocyst stage, TFG was highly expressed at the 1-cell stage, then declined after genomic activation, high levels of expression being again detected at the morula and blastocyst stages. This analysis suggests that the ACP system is an effective tool for use in the identification of stage-specific genes in small numbers of porcine parthenotes. Examination of the genes differentially expressed in the blastocyst, which we have identified here, will provide insight into the molecular basis of preimplantation development.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: Nam-Hyung Kim, PhD, Department of Animal Sciences, Chungbuk National University, Gaesin-dong, Cheongju, Chungbuk 361-763, South Korea. Fax: +82 43 2728853. e-mail:



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