Fully-mature antral mouse oocytes are transcriptionally silent but their heterochromatin maintains a transcriptional permissive histone acetylation profile

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The final stages of antral mouse oocytes maturation are characterised by the transition from transcriptionally active NSN to inactive SN oocytes. Here, we studied the profile of histone acetylation changes occurring during the NSN-to-SN transition.


During the NSN-to-SN transition, oocytes were classified based on their chromatin organisation and the immunocytochemical profile of histones H2B, H3 and H4 acetylation was analysed.


We described four patterns of immunostaining common to the three acetylated histones, corresponding to stages of progressive localisation: From a diffused distribution in NSN oocytes to the association with constitutive heterochromatin and then to the nucleolar surface region in SN oocytes.


The maintenance of a favourable transcriptional epigenetic context, in the heterochromatin of transcriptionally silent SN oocytes, might be related to the early stages of development when transcripts from these heterochromatic regions are functional to preimplantation progression.

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