DNA polymerase activity in trophoblast giant cells in the mouse /
Dean, Wendy L.
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In the developing mouse embryo, the diploid trophectoderm is known to undergo a diploid to giant cell transformation. These cells arise by a process of endoreduplication, characterized by replication of the entire genome without subsequent mitosis or cell division, leading to polyploidy and the formation of giant nuclei. Studies of 13.5 day rat trophoblast derived from the parietal yolk sac have indicated a relatively low rate of DNA polymerase a activity, the noinnal eukaryotic replicase, in comparison to that of DNA polymerase g. These results have suggested that endoreduplication in trophoblast giant cells may not employ the normal replicase enzyme, DNA polymerase a. In order to determine whether a 'switch' from DNA polymerase to DNA polymerase is a necessary concomitant of the diploid to giant cell transformation, two distinct populations of trophoblast giant cells, the primary giant cell derived from the mural trophectoderm and the secondary giant cell derived from the polar trophoectoderm were used. These two populations of trophoblast giant cells can be obtained from the tissue outgrowths of 3.5da blastocysts and the extraembryonic ectoderm (EX) and ectoplacental cone (EPC) of 7.5 day embryos respectively. Tissue outgrowths were treated with aphidicolin, a specific reversible inhibitor of eukaryotic DNA polymerase a, on various days after explantation. The effect of aphidicolin treatment was assessed both qualitatively, using autoradiography and quantitatively by scintillation counting and Feulgen staining. 3 DNA synthesis was measured in control and treated cultures after a Hthymidine pulse. Scintillation counts of the embryo proper revealed that DNA synthesis was consistently inhibited by greater than 907. in the presence of aphidicolin. Inhibition of DNA synthesis in the EX and EPC varied between 81-957. and 82-987. respectively, indicating that most DNA synthesis was mediated by DNA polymerase a, but that a small but significant amount of residual synthesis was indicated. A qualitative approach was then applied to determine whether the apparent residual DNA synthesis was restricted to a subpopulation of giant cells or whether all giant cells displayed a low level of DNA synthesis. Autoradiographs of the ICM of blastocysts and the embryo proper of 7.5da embryos, which acted as diploid control population, was completely inhibited regardless of duration in explant culture. In contrast, primary trophoblast giant cells derived from blastocysts and secondary giant cells derived from the EX and EPC were observed to possess some heavily labelled cells after aphidicolin treatment. These results suggest that although DNA polymerase a is the primary replicating enzyme responsible for endoreduplication in mouse trophoblast giant cells, some nonactivity is also observed. A DNA polymerase assay employing tissue lysates of outgrown 7.5da embryo, EX and EPC tissues was used to attempt to confirm the presence of higher nonactivity in tissues possessing trophoblast giant cells. Employing a series of inhibitors of DNA polymerases, it would appear that DNA polymerase a is the major polymerase active in all tissues of the 7.5da mouse embryo. The nature of the putative residual DNA synthetic activity could not be unequivically determined in this study. Therefore, these results suggest that both primary and secondary trophoblast giant cells possess and use DNA polymerase a in endoreduplicative DNA synthesis. It would appear that the high levels of DNA polymerase g activity reported in trophoblast tissue derived from the 13.5 da rat yolk sac was not a general feature of all endoreduplication.