The aim of this study was to examine the presence and regulation of glycogen synthase kinase-3alpha (GSK3A) and GSK-3beta (GSK3B) in bovine embryos and their possible roles in embryo development. Our results show that GSK3A and GSK3B are present in bovine embryos at the two-cell stage to the hatched blastocyst stage. Bovine embryo development was associated with an increase in the phosphorylation of both isoforms, being statistically significant at blastocyst and hatched blastocyst stages, compared with earlier stages. Inhibition of GSK3 with CT99021 (3 microM) resulted in a significant increase in the percentage and quality of blastocysts, while inhibition of GSK3 with lithium chloride (LiCl; 20 mM) significantly reduced at the proportion of eight-cell embryos on day 3 and inhibited blastocyst formation. The use of LY294002 (10 microM), a specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase, also produced a significant decrease in embryo development. In addition, treatment with LiCl and LY294002 produced a significant decrease in the serine phosphorylation of both isoforms of GSK3. Finally, CT99021 and LiCl reduced the phosphorylation of beta-catenin on Ser45 in two-cell embryos, while LY294002 increased it. Despite the fact that LiCl inhibited GSK3 activity, as demonstrated by beta-catenin phosphorylation, its effects on the bovine embryo could be mediated through other signaling pathways leading finally to a decrease in the phosphorylation of GSK3 and a reduction in embryo development. Therefore, in conclusion, GSK3A/B serine phosphorylation was positively correlated with embryo development, indicating the importance of an accurate regulation of GSK3 activity during developmental stages to achieve normal bovine embryo development.
University College Dublin ->