The second polar body contributes to the fate asymmetry in the mouse embryo

Hongbin Jin, Yang Han, Huasong Wang, J. Xiao He Li, Weimin Shen, Lin Zhang, Luxi Chen, Shunji Jia, Ping Yuan, Hui Chen, Anming Meng

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The polar bodies (PBs) are extruded microcells during oocyte meiosis and generally regarded as inessentials for embryonic development. Therefore, PBs have been widely used as important materials for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in human. Here we report that the second PB (PB2) in the mouse zygote may play roles in cell-fate specification and post-implantation development. A subset of mRNAs encoding pluripotency-related factors are enriched in PB2. Nascent proteins may be synthesized in PB2 after fertilization and transport from PB2 to the zygote before the two-cell stage. The PB2-attached blastomere (pbB) at the two-cell stage, compared to the other blastomere (npbB), likely contributes more descendants to the inner cell mass (ICM) lineage in the blastocyst. Removal of PB2 from the zygote or transient blockage of material exchange between PB2 and the zygote by nocodazole treatment appears to cause a loss of the ICM fate bias of pbB. PB2 removal or nocodazole treatment also results in abnormal post-implantation development. Injection of PB2 lysate into pbB of PB2-removed two-cell-stage embryos may reset the cell-fate preference and rescue post-implantation development. Our data collectively suggest that PB2 would demarcate the earliest cell-fate asymmetry of the mouse zygote and be required for post-implantation development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbernwac003
Number of pages11
JournalNational Science Review
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • asymmetry
  • cell fate
  • embryo
  • mouse
  • polar body

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