The generation of a high-quality egg for reproduction requires faithful segregation of chromosome during oocyte meiosis. Here, we report that echinoderm microtubule-associated protein like 6 (EML6) is highly expressed in oocytes, and responsible for accurate segregation of homologous chromosomes in mice. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry analyses revealed that EML6 was predominantly expressed by oocytes in the ovaries. Whole mount immunofluorescent staining showed that EML6 was colocalized with spindle microtubules in oocytes at various stages after meiotic resumption. This specialized localization was disrupted by nocodazole, the microtubule destabilizer, while enhanced by Taxol, a microtubule stabilizing reagent. In vivo knockdown of Eml6 expression by the specific siRNA resulted in chromosome misalignment and alteration in spindle dimension at both metaphase Ⅰ and Ⅱ stages, as well as the increased aneuploidy in the mature oocytes. Thus, these data suggest that EML family proteins participate in the control of oocyte meiotic division.
Keywords: chromosome alignment; echinoderm microtubule-associated protein like 6 (EML6); female fertility; meiosis; oocyte aneuploidy; spindle.