Epigenetic modifications in the C-terminal domain of histones coordinate important events during early development including embryo genome activation (EGA) and cell differentiation. In this study, the mRNA expression profile of the main lysine demethylases (KDMs) acting on the lysine 4 (H3K4), 9 (H3K9), and 27 (H3K27) of the histone H3 was determined at pre-, during and post-EGA stages of bovine and porcine embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (IVF) and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). In IVF embryos, mRNA abundance of most KDMs revealed a bell-shaped profile with peak expression around the EGA period, i.e. Day 3 for porcine (KDM2B, KDM5B,KDM5C, KDM4B, KDM4C, KDM6A, KDM6B, and KDM7A), and Day 4 for bovine (KDM1A, KDM5A,KDM5B, KDM5C, KDM3A, KDM4A, KDM4C, and KDM7A). The mRNA profile of KDM1A, KDM2B,KDM3A, KDM3B, KDM6A, and KDM6B differed between porcine and bovine IVF embryos. Several differences were also observed between SCNT and IVF, which includes a precocious peak in the mRNA expression of KDM1A, KDM3A, KDM4C, KDM5A, KDM5B, KDM5C, KDM6A, and KDM7A in bovine SCNT embryos; absence of mRNA peak for KDM4B, KDM4C, and KDM6A in porcine SCNT embryos; and early decreasing in KDM5B and KDM5C mRNA in porcine SCNT embryos. Based on the mRNA profile, this study has identified several KDMs that are likely involved in the regulation of the EGA transition, KDMs that may have a species-specific role in bovine and porcine embryos, and KDMs that are improperly expressed during cell reprogramming in SCNT embryos.
The mRNA expression profile of key KDMs of H3K4, H3K9, and H3K27 is dynamically regulated during the EGA transition of bovine and porcine embryos, and it is altered in SCNT compared with IVF embryos.