Involvement of Nlrp9a/b/c in mouse preimplantation development

Reproduction. 2020 Aug;160(2):181-191. doi: 10.1530/REP-19-0516.


Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain, leucine-rich repeat and pyrin domain-containing proteins (NRLPs) are central components of the inflammasome. Accumulating evidence has shown that a reproductive clade of NRLPs is predominantly expressed in oocyte to cleavage stage embryos and participates in mammalian preimplantation development as a component of a multiprotein complex known as the subcortical maternal complex (SCMC). Nlrp9s belong to the reproductive class of NLRPs; Nlrp9b is unique in acting as an inflammasome against rotavirus in intestines. Here we generated mice carrying mutations in all three members of the Nlrp9a/b/c gene (Nlrp9 triple mutant (TMut) mice). When crossed with WT males, the Nlrp9 TMut females were fertile, but deliveries with fewer pups were increased in the mutants. Consistent with this, blastocyst development was retarded and lethality to the preimplantation embryos increased in the Nlrp9 TMut females in vivo. Under in vitro culture conditions, the fertilized eggs from the Nlrp9 TMut females exhibited developmental arrest at the two-cell stage, accompanied by asymmetric cell division. By contrast, double-mutant (DMut) oocytes (any genetic combination) did not exhibit the two-cell block in vitro, showing the functional redundancy of Nlrp9a/b/c. Finally, Nlrp9 could bind to components of the SCMC. These results show that Nlrp9 functions as an immune or reproductive NLRP in a cell-type-dependent manner.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / cytology*
  • Blastocyst / physiology
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mutation*
  • Oocytes / cytology*
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Reproduction*
  • Zygote / cytology
  • Zygote / physiology


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing