, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1033-1044
Date: 14 Nov 2012

Precocious detection on amphibian oocyte lampbrush chromosomes of subtle changes in the cellular localisation of the Ro52 protein induced by in vitro culture


Subterminal lampbrush loops of one of the 12 bivalents of the oocyte karyotype of Pleurodeles waltl (Amphibian, Urodele) underwent prominent morphological changes upon in vitro culture. These loops exhibited a fine ribonucleoprotein (RNP) granular matrix, which evolved during culture into huge structures that we have named ‘chaussons’ (slippers). This phenomenon involved progressive accumulation of proteins in the RNP matrix without protein neosynthesis. One of these proteins, which translocated into the nucleus during the culture, was identified as a homolog of the human Ro52 E3 ubiquitin ligase. RNA polymerase III was also found to accumulate on the same loops. These results suggest that the subterminal loops of bivalent XII act as a storage site for the components of a nuclear machinery involved in the quality control of RNA synthesis and maturation in response to cellular stress. They also emphasise the considerable value of the lampbrush chromosome system for a direct visualisation of modifications in gene expression and open the question of a nuclear accumulation of Ro52 in human or animal oocytes cultured in vitro for assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

Responsible Editor: Herbert Macgregor