Granules that act as molecular timers discovered in vertebrate oocytes

Research Press Release | October 25, 2013

Granules of cyclinB1 mRNA (green) in an immature mouse oocyte. The nuclei of the oocyte and follicular cells are stained blue. GV indicates the nucleus of the oocyte (germinal vesicle).
Granules of cyclinB1 mRNA (green) in an immature mouse oocyte. The nuclei of the oocyte and follicular cells are stained blue. GV indicates the nucleus of the oocyte (germinal vesicle).
Press Release
Key Points – Granules containing mRNA molecules are present in vertebrate oocytes, and these have been elucidated to act as molecular timers for oocytes.

– By acting as timers, these granules enable to synthesize proteins at the right time to form eggs that are ready to be fertilized by sperm.

– This discovery may contribute to progress in the elucidation of the causes of infertility and the development of treatments.

– It may also contribute to progress in elucidating the roles of RNA granules in many other different types of cells.

Overview Many biological phenomena proceed as a result of the accurately timed translation of genetic information into proteins. In the process of oocyte maturation in particular, the timing of protein synthesis is regulated to within a few minutes, and this accurate regulation is what enables the formation of healthy eggs capable of being fertilized by sperm.

This study elucidated that the mRNA accumulated in immature vertebrate oocytes forms granules, and that these granules act as molecular timers in the oocyte to regulate the exact timing of protein synthesis. These findings not only constitute the discovery of a new mechanism for the accurate translation of genetic information into proteins, but may also contribute to progress in the elucidation of the causes of infertility and the development of treatments, as well as explaining the roles of RNA granules in many other different types of cells, including early embryos and neural tissue.

Inquiries

Tomoya Kotani, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University

TEL & FAX: +81-11-706-4455

e-mail: tkotani@sci.hokudai.ac.jp

Japanese

Link

http://www.hokudai.ac.jp/news/131011_pr_sci.pdf
Publications The Journal of Cell Biology (2013.9.23)

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