Changes in endoplasmic reticulum structure during mouse oocyte maturation are controlled by the cytoskeleton and cytoplasmic dynein

Gregory FitzHarris, Petros Marangos, John Graham Carroll

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Oocyte maturation in mouse is associated with a dramatic reorganisation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) from a network of cytoplasmic accumulations in the germinal vesicle-stage oocyte (GV) to a network of distinctive cortical clusters in the metaphase II egg (MII). Multiple lines of evidence suggest that this redistribution of the ER is important to prepare the oocyte for the generation of repetitive Ca2+ transients which trigger egg activation at fertilisation. The aim of the current study was therefore to investigate the timecourse and mechanism of ER reorganisation during oocyte maturation. The ER is first restructured at the time of GV-breakdown (GVBD) into a dense network of membranes which envelop and invade the developing meiotic spindle. GVBD is essential for the initiation of ER reorganisation, since ER structure does not change in GV-arrested oocytes. ER reorganisation is also prevented by the microtubule inhibitor nocodazole and by the inhibition of cytoplasmic dynein, a microtubule-associated motor protein. ER redistribution at GVBD is therefore dynein-driven and cell cycle-dependent. Following GVBD the dense network of ER surrounds the spindle during its migration to the oocyte cortex. Cortical clusters of ER are formed close to the time of, but independently of the metaphase I-metaphase II transition. Formation of the characteristic ER clusters is prevented by the depolymerisation of microfilaments, but not of microtubules. These experiments reveal that ER reorganisation during oocyte maturation is a complex multi-step process involving distinct microtubule- and microfilament-dependent phases and indicate a role for dynein in the cytoplasmic changes which prepare the oocyte for fertilisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133 - 144
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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