Oocyte-specific deletion of N-WASP does not affect oocyte polarity, but causes failure of meiosis II completion

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Abstract

STUDY QUESTION

There is an unexplored physiological role of N-WASP (neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein) in oocyte maturation that prevents completion of second meiosis.

SUMMARY ANSWER

In mice, N-WASP deletion did not affect oocyte polarity and asymmetric meiotic division in first meiosis, but did impair midbody formation and second meiosis completion.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY

N-WASP regulates actin dynamics and participates in various cell activities through the RHO-GTPase-Arp2/3 (actin-related protein 2/3 complex) pathway, and specifically the Cdc42 (cell division cycle 42)-N-WASP-Arp2/3 pathway. Differences in the functions of Cdc42 have been obtained from in vitro compared to in vivo studies.

STUDY DESIGN, SAMPLES/MATERIALS, METHODS

By conditional knockout of N-WASP in mouse oocytes, we analyzed its in vivo functions by employing a variety of different methods including oocyte culture, immunofluorescent staining and live oocyte imaging. Each experiment was repeated at least three times, and data were analyzed by paired-samples t-test.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE

Oocyte-specific deletion of N-WASP did not affect the process of oocyte maturation including spindle formation, spindle migration, polarity establishment and maintenance, and homologous chromosome or sister chromatid segregation, but caused failure of cytokinesis completion during second meiosis (P < 0.001 compared to control). Further analysis showed that a defective midbody may be responsible for the failure of cytokinesis completion.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION

The present study did not include a detailed analysis of the mechanisms underlying the results, which will require more extensive further investigations.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS

N-WASP may play an important role in mediating and co-ordinating the activity of the spindle (midbody) and actin (contractile ring constriction) when cell division occurs. The findings are important for understanding the regulation of oocyte meiosis completion and failures in this process that affect oocyte quality.

LARGE SCALE DATA

None.

STUDY FUNDING AND COMPETING INTEREST(S)

This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2012CB944404) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos 30930065, 31371451, 31272260 and 31530049). There are no potential conflicts of interests.

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