Expression of bovine interferon-tau variants according to sex and age of conceptuses

Angela M. Walker, Koji Kimura, R. Michael Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Interferon-tau (IFNT), which plays a major role in maternal recognition of pregnancy in cattle, is transcribed from multiple genes. Moreover, there are at least 12 cDNA variants, many presumably allelic. Although the IFNT locus is autosomal, Day 8 female blastocysts produced approximately twice as much antiviral activity as males. The questions addressed here are whether male and female blastocysts differed in the kind and number of IFNT they expressed, and whether this pattern changed over development. Day 8, in vitro-produced blastocysts were bisected, and one half of each was sexed by PCR. Demi-embryos (n = 64) were grouped according to whether they were male or female, to provide two pools of each sex. Individual cDNA were sequenced after RT-PCR amplification and shot-gun cloning to provide comparisons between male and female blastocysts, elongating conceptuses of various developmental ages (Days 14-19), and a female trophoblast cell line (CT-1). A total of 376 cDNA clones were sequenced. Six additional cDNA were identified, in addition to the forms described earlier. There were no differences between male and female blastocysts (P = 0.54), and between blastocysts and a trophoblast model system (CT-1 cells; P = 0.24) in the IFNT transcripts expressed, indicating that sexual dimorphism wass not correlated with particular IFNT variants. There were differences in variant frequencies (P < 0.001) among conceptuses of different age, although two, representing boIFN1a and boIFN3c, predominated throughout development. Notably, no alteration in overall IFNT variant diversity was detected in CT-1 cells over time (P = 0.124).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-53
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cattle
  • IFN-tau
  • Interferon-tau
  • Maternal recognition of pregnancy
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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