Reconstitution of the oocyte transcriptional network with transcription factors
© Clouds Hill Imaging Ltd./Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Mouse stem cells can be converted into egg-like cells capable of being fertilized with sperm by activating just eight genes. This finding offers fresh insights into the development of egg cells and could lead to new advances in reproductive medicine.
A team led by Kyushu University researchers identified the eight genes by analysing egg cell development, both inside the ovaries of living mice and in a specialized cell-culture system.
The activation of these genes proved sufficient to reorganize the fluid-filled cytoplasm of the cell into an egg-like state. This fluid could now be used in certain assisted reproductive techniques such as mitochondrial replacement therapy.
However, the resulting egg-like cells lacked key features that would make them functional. For example, they did not cut their total chromosome number in half, as they should, and their DNA had the wrong pattern of gene-regulating chemical tags.
The researchers’ pursuit of viable lab-grown eggs for treating female infertility thus continues.
- Nature 589, 264–269 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-3027-9
|Kyushu University, Japan||0.77|
|RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB), Japan||0.15|
|MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS), United Kingdom (UK)||0.04|
|Imperial College London (ICL), United Kingdom (UK)||0.04|