Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

Large-scale chromatin structure and function changes during oogenesis: the interplay between oocyte and companion cumulus cells

A.M. Luciano, F. Franciosi, C. Dieci, I. Tessaro, L. Terzaghi, S.C. Modina, V. Lodde

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The process of chromatin configuration remodeling within the mammalian oocyte nucleus or germinal vesicle (GV), which occurs towards the end of its differentiation phase before meiotic resumption, has received much attention and has been studied in several mammals. This review is aimed to highlight the relationship between changes in chromatin configurations and to both functional and structural modifications occurring in the oocyte nuclear compartment. During the extensive phase of meiotic arrest at the diplotene stage, the chromatin enclosed within the GV is subjected to several levels of regulation. Morphologically, the chromosomes lose their individuality and form a loose chromatin mass. Then the decondensed chromatin undergoes profound rearrangements during the final stages of oocyte growth in tight association with the acquisition of meiotic and developmental competence. Functionally, the discrete stages of chromatin condensation are characterized by different level of transcriptional activity, DNA methylation and covalent histone modifications. Interestingly, the program of chromatin rearrangement is not completely intrinsic to the oocyte, but follicular cells exert their regulatory actions through gap junction mediated communications and intracellular messenger dependent mechanism(s). With this in mind and since oocyte growth mostly relies on the bidirectional crosstalk with the follicular cells, experimental manipulation of large-scale chromatin configuration is discussed. Besides providing tools to determine the key cellular pathways involved in genome-wide chromatin modifications, the present findings will aid to the refinement of physiological culture systems that can have important implications in treating human infertility as well as managing breeding schemes in animal husbandry


chromatin, cumulus cells, gap junctions, germinal vesicle, oocyte, transcriptional activity
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