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© 2019, The Author(s). Transcript abundance of histone variants, modifiers of histone and DNA in bovine in vivo oocytes and embryos were measured as mean transcripts per million (TPM). Six of 14 annotated histone variants, 8 of 52 histone methyl-transferases, 5 of 29 histone de-methylases, 5 of 20 acetyl-transferases, 5 of 19 de-acetylases, 1 of 4 DNA methyl-transferases and 0 of 3 DNA de-methylases were abundant (TPM >50) in at least one stage studied. Overall, oocytes and embryos contained more varieties of mRNAs for histone modification than for DNA. Three expression patterns were identified for histone modifiers: (1) transcription before embryonic genome activation (EGA) and down-regulated thereafter such as PRMT1; (2) low in oocytes but transiently increased for EGA such as EZH2; (3) high in oocytes but decreased by EGA such as SETD3. These expression patterns were altered by in vitro culture. Additionally, the presence of mRNAs for the TET enzymes throughout pre-implantation development suggests persistent de-methylation. Together, although DNA methylation changes are well-recognized, the first and second orders of significance in epigenetic changes by in vivo embryos may be histone variant replacements and modifications of histones.

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Scientific Reports