Valproic Acid Improves Porcine Parthenogenetic Embryo Development Through Transient Remodeling of Histone Modifiers
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AbstractBackground/Aims: Parthenogenetic embryos are useful in many applications, such as being an alternative source of embryonic stem cells that would avoid ethical problems. Aberrance in epigenetic reprogramming is considered the major reason for the developmental failure of parthenogenetic embryos. Many histone deacetylase inhibitors have been shown to improve the reprogramming of stem cells and embryos. Here, the relationship between histone modification and parthenogenetic embryonic development was explored. Methods: Valproic acid (VPA) treatment was applied during the culture of parthenogenetic embryos. The abundance of histone modifiers was examined by immunofluorescence and quantified by Image-pro software. Results: The acH3K9 level in in vitro fertilized embryos was significantly higher than parthenogenetic embryos. VPA treatment improved both the blastocyst formation rate and the acH3K9 level in parthenogenetic embryos. The signal intensities of acH4K5 and H3K4me2 were also enhanced in VPA treated embryos. The H3K27me2 level was decreased in the VPA treated embryos at the 2-cell stage. However, the enhancement in the acH3K9, acH4K5 and H3K4me2 level, or the decrease in the H3K27me2 level disappeared shortly after VPA withdrawal. Conclusion: Optimizing histone modifications for a short time following activation was sufficient to enhance the in vitro development of parthenogenetic embryos.