Expression of the proliferation marker Ki-67 during early mouse development

H. Winking*, J. Gerdes, W. Traut

*Corresponding author for this work
15 Citations (Scopus)


In somatic tissues, the mouse Ki-67 protein (pKi-67) is expressed in proliferating cells only. Depending on the stage of the cell cycle, pKi-67 is associated with different nuclear domains: with euchromatin as part of the perichromosomal layer, with centromeric heterochromatin, and with the nucleolus. In gametes, sex-specific expression is evident. Mature MII oocytes contain pKi-67, whereas pKi-67 is not detectable in mature sperm. We investigated the re-establishment of the cell cycle-dependent distribution of pKi-67 during early mouse development. After fertilization, male and female pronuclei exhibited very little or no pKi-67, while polar bodies were pKi-67 positive. Towards the end of the first cell cycle, prophase chromosomes of male and female pronuclei simultaneously got decorated with pKi-67. In 2-cell embryos, the distribution pattern changed, presumably depending on the progress of development of the embryo, from a distribution all over the nucleus to a preferential location in the nucleolus precursor bodies (NPBs). From the 4-cell stage onwards, pKi-67 showed the regular nuclear relocations known from somatic tissues: during mitosis the protein was found covering the chromosome arms as a constituent of the perichromosomal layer, in early G1 it was distributed in the whole nucleus, and for the rest of the cell cycle it was associated with NPBs or with the nucleolus.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCytogenetic and Genome Research
Issue number2-4
Pages (from-to)251-256
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 06.08.2004


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