Gene expression is required in all steps of embryonic development and therefore heat stress is known to reduce developmental competence after direct exposure of oocytes and embryos to different conditions of heat shock, by decreasing protein synthesis. Moreover, as in somatic cells, the heat stress befuddles the integration of RNA and posttranscriptional modification of RNA, the assumption was that during meiotic maturation heat shock may mutate RNA within oocytes, with the possibility of altering the surrounding cumulus cells, causing, thus, reductions in development. Heat shock proteins (HSP) are among the first proteins produced during embryonic development and are crucial to cell function. The HSP70 (HSPA14 gene) is an important part of the cell’s machinery for folding, unfolding, transport, localization of proteins and differentiation, regulation of the embryonic cell cycle and helping to protect cells from stress. Therefore, HSPA14 is an apoptotic gene induced by heat shock is associated with embryonic loss, playing an important role of control mechanism of processes involved in growth, cellular differentiation, and embryonic development. In addition the connexin proteins (e.g. Cx43), related to gap junctions, are expressed in numerous tissues including gonads, act as a mediator of heat stress effect on cells. In the present review, the effect of heat stress on bovine embryonic development in a physiologic and genetic point of view is fully discussed.
Part of the book: Trends and Advances in Veterinary Genetics