The process of spatial rearrangement of cells of the inner cell mass (ICM) that are destined to become hypoblast is not well understood. The observation that the chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 24 (CCL24) and several other genes involved in chemokine signaling are expressed more in the ICM than in the trophectoderm of the bovine embryo resulted in the hypothesis that CCL24 participates in spatial organization of the ICM. Temporally, expression of CCL24 in the bovine embryo occurs coincidently with blastocyst formation: transcript abundance was low until the late morula stage, peaked in the blastocyst at Day 7 of development and declined by Day 9. Treatment of embryos with two separate antagonists of C-C motif chemokine receptor 3 (the prototypical receptor for CCL24) decreased the percent of Gata6 cells (hypoblast precursors) that were located in the outside of the ICM. Similarly, injection of zygotes with a CCL24-specific morpholino decreased the percent of GATA6 cells in the outside of the ICM. In conclusion, CCL24 assists in spatial arrangement of the ICM in the bovine embryo. This experiment points to new functions of chemokine signaling in the bovine embryo and is consistent with the idea that cell migration is involved in the spatial organization of hypoblast cells in the blastocyst.
The chemokine, CCL24, is involved in spatial arrangement of hypoblast cells in the bovine embryo.