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Preimplantation is a dynamic developmental period during which a combination of maternal and zygotic factors program the early embryo resulting in lineage specification and implantation. A reverse genetic RNAi screen in mouse embryos identified the WD Repeat Domain 74 gene (Wdr74) as being required for these critical first steps of mammalian development. Knockdown of Wdr74 results in embryos that develop normally until the morula stage but fail to form blastocysts or properly specify the inner cell mass and trophectoderm. In Wdr74-deficient embryos, we find activated Trp53-dependent apoptosis as well as a global reduction of RNA polymerase I, II and III transcripts. In Wdr74-deficient embryos blocking Trp53 function rescues blastocyst formation and lineage differentiation. These results indicate that Wdr74 is required for RNA transcription, processing and/or stability during preimplantation development and is an essential gene in the mouse.


Marc Maserati, Melanie Walentuk, Xiangpeng Dai, Olivia Holston, Danielle Adams, Jesse Mager. Wdr74 is required for blastocyst formation in the mouse. PloS one. 2011;6(7):e22516

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PMID: 21799883

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