J Vet Sci.  2017 Mar;18(1):1-9. 10.4142/jvs.2017.18.1.1.

Reactive oxygen species-mediated unfolded protein response pathways in preimplantation embryos

  • 1Laboratory of Animal Genetic Breeding and Reproduction, Agriculture College of Yanbian University, Yanji 133002, China. nzfang@ybu.edu.cn
  • 2National Animal Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Animal Epidemiology and Zoonosis of Ministry of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine and State Key Laboratory of Agro Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


Excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated responses are critical to embryonic development in the challenging in vitro environment. ROS production increases during early embryonic development with the increase in protein requirements for cell survival and growth. The ER is a multifunctional cellular organelle responsible for protein folding, modification, and cellular homeostasis. ER stress is activated by a variety of factors including ROS. Such stress leads to activation of the adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR), which restores homeostasis. However, chronic stress can exceed the toleration level of the ER, resulting in cellular apoptosis. In this review, we briefly describe the generation and impact of ROS in preimplantation embryo development, the ROS-mediated activation mechanism of the UPR via the ER, and the subsequent activation of signaling pathways following ER stress in preimplantation embryos.


blastocyst; endoplasmic reticulum; reactive oxygen species; unfolded protein response
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