Regulated movement of cellular factors between the cytoplasm and nucleus is required for fundamental cellular processes ranging from cell cycle control to transcriptional regulation. CRM1 is a nuclear export factor whose function is to actively transport nuclear cargos that bear nuclear export sequences to the cytoplasm. Because CRM1 likely plays a role in the intracellular regulation of many cellular processes, we set out to characterize CRM1 function during early mammalian embryogenesis. A series of embryo culture experiments that employed a specific inhibitor of CRM1, leptomycin B, indicated that CRM1 function is not required for development until after the 4-cell stage of porcine embryo development. Immunolocalization of CRM1 in fixed embryos revealed that CRM1 is localized in a unique pattern during the period of time when the embryo does not have a developmental requirement for CRM1. Despite these findings, a microinjection assay showed that CRM1 function persists during this period of development. This demonstrates that although CRM1 is present in a functional form throughout mammalian embryo development, its function is not required for early cleavage.
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