Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 29–39 | Cite as

Cumulus cell contact during oocyte maturation in mice regulates meiotic spindle positioning and enhances developmental competence




To investigate the role of cumulus cell contact during oocyte maturation on meiotic spindle assembly and the acquisition of developmental competence.


Cumulus oocyte complexes isolated from mouse ovaries subjected to in vitro or in vivo maturation were analyzed by confocal microscopy with respect to oocyte somatic cell contacts and for their ability to develop after parthenogenic activation during embryo culture.


Cell contact is maintained during maturation in vivo, predisposing oocytes to cortical meiotic spindle assembly and developmental competence acquisition. In contrast, oocytes matured in vitro lose cell contact coincident with central meiotic spindle assembly that results in cleavage delays upon egg activation and failure to form blastocysts. Experimental disruption of cell contact by the actin-depolymerizing agent latrunculin B results in the formation of enlarged meiotic spindles with dispersed chromosomes unlike the compact ordering of chromosomes observed on spindles formed after in vivo maturation, suggesting a link between cell contact and the acquisition of developmental competence.


Somatic cell contact optimizes oocyte quality during meiotic maturation by regulating the spatial organization and function of the meiotic spindle through actin-dependent mechanisms that enhance development.


Cytoskeleton Oocyte-somatic cell interactions Cumulus expansion Chromosomal spacing Oocyte maturation 



transzonal projections


germinal vesicle


cumulus oocyte complex


in vitro maturation


in vivo maturation


Latrunculin B




inner cell mass


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Cellular, Molecular and Developmental BiologyTufts UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular and Integrative PhysiologyUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  3. 3.Marine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  4. 4.Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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