The inability of fully grown germinal vesicle stage oocyte cytoplasm to transcriptionally silence transferred transcribing nuclei
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For somatic cell nuclear transfer cytoplasts from metaphase II, oocytes are exclusively used. However, it is evident that certain reprogramming activities are present in oocytes even at earlier stages of maturation. These activities are, however, only poorly characterised. The main reason for this is that even the intrinsic oocyte processes are insufficiently understood. The mammalian oocyte is a highly specialised cell that harbours many specific characteristics. One of these is its particularly large size when compared to somatic cells. As the oocyte enters the growth phase its volume, as well as the amount of material, increases considerably. Thus, it is clear that the oocyte must possess the machinery to accomplish this incredible material accumulation. When the growth phase is completed, the transcription ceases and the oocyte becomes transcriptionally inactive. In our study, we have used the model system of oocyte fusion (transcribing × non-transcribing germinal vesicle (GV) stage oocytes) as a substitute for a somatic cell nuclear transfer schemes where the somatic cell nucleus would be introduced into a cytoplast obtained from a GV stage oocyte. We wanted to determine if the fully grown GV stage oocyte could induce reprogramming of transcriptionally active transferred nucleus by suppressing this activity. In order to evaluate possible changes in transcriptional properties after nuclear transfer, we also investigated the mechanism of transcriptional silencing taking place when the oocyte reaches its full size as well as the fate of the components namely of the RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcriptional and splicing machinery. Here, we show that while the Pol II is degraded in fully grown GV stage oocytes and the splicing proteins undergo significant rearrangement, these oocytes are unable to induce similar changes in transcriptionally active nuclei even after a prolonged culture interval.
KeywordsOocyte Nuclear transfer Transcription
This work was supported by grant MSMT 1M0021620803 from the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic and GACR 523/09/1878 from the Czech Science Foundation. We also appreciate helpful comments from Pavel Hozak.
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