• Meis;
  • Pbx;
  • Prep;
  • TALE;
  • homeodomain proteins;
  • preimplantation development;
  • bovine;
  • mouse


Background: Three amino acid loop extension (TALE) homeodomain-containing transcription factors are generally recognized for their role in organogenesis and differentiation during embryogenesis. However, very little is known about the expression and function of Meis, Pbx, and Prep genes during early development. Results: In order to determine whether TALE proteins could contribute to the early cell fate decisions in mammalian development, this study aimed to characterize in a systematic manner the pattern of expression of all Meis, Pbx, and Prep genes from the precompaction to blastocyst stage corresponding to the first step of cell differentiation in mammals. To reveal to what extent TALE genes expression at these early stages is a conserved feature among mammals, this study was performed in parallel in the bovine and mouse models. We demonstrated the transcription and translation of TALE genes, before gastrulation in the two species. At least one member of Meis, Pbx, and Prep subfamilies was found expressed at the RNA and protein levels but different patterns of expression were observed between genes and between species, suggesting specific gene regulations. Conclusions: Taken together, these results suggest a previously unexpected involvement of these factors during the early development in mammals. Developmental Dynamics 241:1827–1835, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.