Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 14, pp 2547–2566 | Cite as

Mechanisms controlling germline cyst breakdown and primordial follicle formation

  • Chao Wang
  • Bo Zhou
  • Guoliang XiaEmail author


In fetal females, oogonia proliferate immediately after sex determination. The progress of mitosis in oogonia proceeds so rapidly that the incompletely divided cytoplasm of the sister cells forms cysts. The oogonia will then initiate meiosis and arrest at the diplotene stage of meiosis I, becoming oocytes. Within each germline cyst, oocytes with Balbiani bodies will survive after cyst breakdown (CBD). After CBD, each oocyte is enclosed by pre-granulosa cells to form a primordial follicle (PF). Notably, the PF pool formed perinatally will be the sole lifelong oocyte source of a female. Thus, elucidating the mechanisms of CBD and PF formation is not only meaningful for solving mysteries related to ovarian development but also contributes to the preservation of reproduction. However, the mechanisms that regulate these phenomena are largely unknown. This review summarizes the progress of cellular and molecular research on these processes in mice and humans.


Preservation of fertility Premature ovarian failure Apoptosis Autophagy Reconstituted follicle 



Primordial follicle


Cyst breakdown


Primary ovarian insufficiency


Premature ovarian failure


Multi-oocyte follicle


c-Jun amino-terminal kinase


Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1


Phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase


Primordial germ cells


Day post coitus


Week post conception


Forkhead box L2


Canonical wingless-type MMTV integration site family member 4


Retinoic acid


RA receptors


Retinoid X receptors


Retinaldehyde dehydrogenases




Transforming growth factor


DNA double-strand breaks


Partitioning-defective Protein 6


Adherens junctions




Gap junctions


Notch intercellular domain


A disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain10


Bcl2-associated X protein


Caspase 2


Follicle-stimulating hormone


Programmed cell death


Spermatogenesis- and oogenesis-specific helix-loop-helix transcription factor 2


Water channel aquaporin-8






Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5


B-cell lymphoma 2


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Agro-Biotechnology, College of Biological ScienceChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina

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