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Expression and localization of creatine kinase in the preimplantation embryo

Forsey, Katherine E.; Ellis, Peter J.; Sargent, Carole A.; Sturmey, Roger G.; Leese, Henry J.


Katherine E. Forsey

Peter J. Ellis

Carole A. Sargent

Henry J. Leese


Creatine Kinase (CK) catalyses the “creatine shuttle,” the reversible conversion of creatine phosphate to creatine with the liberation of ATP. This article examines the potential role of the creatine shuttle in the provision of ATP during mouse preimplantation embryo development. Using quantitative PCR, transcripts of four subunit isoforms of CK—CKM, CKB, CKMT1, and CKMT2—were detectable at all developmental stages, from the presumptive zygote to late blastocyst, but there was no obvious pattern in gene expression. By contrast, total CK biochemical activity, measured by a novel method, was relatively constant from the 2- to 8-cell stage, before exhibiting a significant decrease in activity at the blastocyst stage. Immunocytochemical studies revealed a marked association of CKB with the mitotic spindle in 2- and 4-cell mouse embryos, consistent with the proposition that the creatine shuttle plays a key role in local delivery of ATP during cytokinesis. Endogenous creatine was detected in the blastocyst at a level of 0.53 pmol/embryo. In conclusion, we believe that creatine phosphate can now be added to the list of potential sources of ATP during preimplantation development.


Forsey, K. E., Ellis, P. J., Sargent, C. A., Sturmey, R. G., & Leese, H. J. (2013). Expression and localization of creatine kinase in the preimplantation embryo. Molecular Reproduction and Development, 80(3), 185-192. doi:10.1002/mrd.22146

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 16, 2012
Online Publication Date Dec 27, 2012
Publication Date 2013-03
Journal Molecular Reproduction and Development
Print ISSN 1040-452X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 80
Issue 3
Pages 185-192
Keywords Developmental Biology; Genetics; Cell Biology
Public URL