Transcript profiling during mouse oocyte development and the effect of gonadotropin priming and development in vitro.

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Dev Biol 2005 Oct; 286(2):493-506.


The molecular basis for acquisition of meiotic and developmental competence, the two main outcomes of oocyte development and essential for producing an egg capable of being fertilized and supporting development to term, is largely unknown. Using microarrays, we characterized global changes in gene expression in oocytes derived from primordial, primary, secondary, small antral, and large antral follicles and used Expression Analysis Systematic Explorer (EASE) to identify biological and molecular processes that accompany these transitions and likely underpin acquisition of meiotic and developmental competence. The greatest degree of change in gene expression occurs during the primordial to primary follicle transition. Of particular interest is that specific chromosomes display significant changes in their overall transcriptional activity and that in some cases these changes are largely confined to specific regions on these chromosomes. We also examined the transcript profile of oocytes that developed in vitro, as well as following eCG priming. Remarkably, the expression profiles only differed by 4% and 2% from oocytes that developed in vivo when compared to oocytes that developed in vitro from either primordial or secondary follicles, respectively. About 1% of the genes were commonly mis-expressed, and EASE analysis revealed there is an over-representation of genes involved in transcription. Developmental competence of oocytes obtained from eCG-primed mice was substantially improved when compared to oocytes obtained from unprimed mice, and this correlated with decreased expression of genes implicated in basal transcription.

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