In the mouse embryo, gap junctions first appear at the 8-cell stage as compaction is about to take place. Compaction of the embryo is important for the differentiation of the first two cell types; the inner cell mass and the trophectoderm. Our studies examine the contribution of gap junctional communication at this stage of development We have characterised the normal sequence of appearance of gap junction protein and its distribution. The extent of communication as shown by the passage of dye between cells has been recorded in both normal embryos and embryos treated with drugs that influence gap junctional communication. Comparisons have been made with embryos that express a lethal gap junction defect and attempts were made to rescue such embryos by increasing their gap junction communication.

This content is only available via PDF.