Bi-allelic pathogenic variants in PABPC1L cause oocyte maturation arrest and female infertility

EMBO Mol Med. 2023 Jun 7;15(6):e17177. doi: 10.15252/emmm.202217177. Epub 2023 Apr 13.


Oocyte maturation arrest is one of the important causes of female infertility, but the genetic factors remain largely unknown. PABPC1L, a predominant poly(A)-binding protein in Xenopus, mouse, and human oocytes and early embryos prior to zygotic genome activation, plays a key role in translational activation of maternal mRNAs. Here, we identified compound heterozygous and homozygous variants in PABPC1L that are responsible for female infertility mainly characterized by oocyte maturation arrest in five individuals. In vitro studies demonstrated that these variants resulted in truncated proteins, reduced protein abundance, altered cytoplasmic localization, and reduced mRNA translational activation by affecting the binding of PABPC1L to mRNA. In vivo, three strains of Pabpc1l knock-in (KI) female mice were infertile. RNA-sequencing analysis showed abnormal activation of the Mos-MAPK pathway in the zygotes of KI mice. Finally, we activated this pathway in mouse zygotes by injecting human MOS mRNA, and this mimicked the phenotype of KI mice. Our findings reveal the important roles of PABPC1L in human oocyte maturation and add a genetic potential candidate gene to be screened for causes of infertility.

Keywords: PABPC1L; Mos-MAPK; female infertility; mRNA translational activation; oocyte maturation arrest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female* / genetics
  • Infertility, Female* / metabolism
  • Infertility, Female* / pathology
  • Mice
  • Oocytes
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger