Control of oocyte growth and meiotic maturation in Caenorhabditis elegans

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;757:277-320. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4015-4_10.

Abstract

In sexually reproducing animals, oocytes arrest at diplotene or diakinesis and resume meiosis (meiotic maturation) in response to hormones. Chromosome segregation errors in female meiosis I are the leading cause of human birth defects, and age-related changes in the hormonal environment of the ovary are a suggested cause. Caenorhabditis elegans is emerging as a genetic paradigm for studying hormonal control of meiotic maturation. The meiotic maturation processes in C. elegans and mammals share a number of biological and molecular similarities. Major sperm protein (MSP) and luteinizing hormone (LH), though unrelated in sequence, both trigger meiotic resumption using somatic Gα(s)-adenylate cyclase pathways and soma-germline gap-junctional communication. At a molecular level, the oocyte responses apparently involve the control of conserved protein kinase pathways and post-transcriptional gene regulation in the oocyte. At a cellular level, the responses include cortical cytoskeletal rearrangement, nuclear envelope breakdown, assembly of the acentriolar meiotic spindle, chromosome segregation, and likely changes important for fertilization and the oocyte-to-embryo transition. This chapter focuses on signaling mechanisms required for oocyte growth and meiotic maturation in C. elegans and discusses how these mechanisms coordinate the completion of meiosis and the oocyte-to-embryo transition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian*
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Oocytes / growth & development*
  • Oogenesis / physiology*