"Metabolism of the blastocyst and embryonic stem cells: So much more than energy production and the role of nutrients in signalling" to be presented by Professor David Gardner from the Department of Zoology at The University of Melbourne.
4:00PM on Tuesday 7 October 2014 (Refreshments to follow)
Level 5 Seminar Room, Melbourne Brain Centre, Parkville Campus
ABSTRACT: The mammalian blastocyst exhibits an idiosyncratic metabolism, reflecting its unique physiology and regulation by the uterine environment. Glucose is the primary nutrient of the blastocyst, and is metabolised both oxidatively and through aerobic glycolysis. The production of significant quantities of lactate by the blastocyst reflects specific metabolic requirements and mitochondrial regulation; it is proposed that lactate production serves to create a microenvironment to facilitate several key functions of the embryo. Significantly, embryonic stem cells (ESC), derived from the blastocyst, share many of the metabolic traits of the late stage embryo. A high reliance on glycolytic flux and glutaminolysis ensures the biosynthetic needs of proliferation are met.
Nutrient availability, amino acids, vitamins, oxygen concentration and the redox state of blastocysts and ESC tightly regulate the relative activities of specific metabolic pathways. Metabolic homeostasis is essential for ongoing development, with both the embryo and ESC sensitive to changes in nutrient availability; the detrimental effects of metabolic plasticity are well documented in embryos. The signaling pathways involved in regulating blastocyst and ESC metabolism are currently under intense analysis, with the roles of SIRTs, AMPK and specific amino acids being scrutinised. It is evident that metabolism regulates more than the production of ATP; rather it is apparent that metabolites and co-factors are important regulators of the epigenome, putting metabolism at centre stage when considering the interactions of the blastocyst and ESC with their environment, and during the process of differentiation.