Maternally expressed NLRP2 links the subcortical maternal complex (SCMC) to fertility, embryogenesis and epigenetic reprogramming

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 20;7:44667. doi: 10.1038/srep44667.


Mammalian parental genomes contribute differently to early embryonic development. Before activation of the zygotic genome, the maternal genome provides all transcripts and proteins required for the transition from a highly specialized oocyte to a pluripotent embryo. Depletion of these maternally-encoded transcripts frequently results in failure of preimplantation embryonic development, but their functions in this process are incompletely understood. We found that female mice lacking NLRP2 are subfertile because of early embryonic loss and the production of fewer offspring that have a wide array of developmental phenotypes and abnormal DNA methylation at imprinted loci. By demonstrating that NLRP2 is a member of the subcortical maternal complex (SCMC), an essential cytoplasmic complex in oocytes and preimplantation embryos with poorly understood function, we identified imprinted postzygotic DNA methylation maintenance, likely by directing subcellular localization of proteins involved in this process, such as DNMT1, as a new crucial role of the SCMC for mammalian reproduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Blastocyst / metabolism
  • Cell Shape
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development* / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Fertility* / genetics
  • Fertilization / genetics
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Nlrp2 protein, mouse
  • Proteins