The condition of premature ovarian aging, or primary ovarian insufficiency, affects 1% of women under the age of 40, and can be induced by ovarian follicle disruption or depletion. General transcription factor TFIID-contained TBP-associated factor 4b (TAF4b) has recently been implicated in both humans and mice as critically important for fertility. TAF4b deficiency results in hallmarks of premature ovarian aging, including infertilty, poor oocyte quality, and dramatic gene expression changes. In addition, preliminary data shows an accelerated depletion of primordial follicles in neonatal TAF4b deficient ovaries, as well as epigenetic deregulation prior to depletion. At birth, TAF4b deficient ovaries appear to lose oocytes through caspase 3-dependent apoptosis, which likely leads to the ovarian senescence observed in reproductively mature mice.
The aims of this proposal will explore in vivo and in vitro the ways in which TAF4b opposes ovarian senescence by transcriptionally regulating the oocyte epigenome.
Aim 1 will test the oocyte autonomous role of TAF4b in preserving the primordial follicle pool.
Aim 2 will explore the temporal role of TAF4b in regulation of the oocyte epigenome and transcriptional targets responsible for that regulation. This proposal will establish a unique mouse model as well as better elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying ovarian follicle maintenance and prevention of oocyte senescence and apoptosis.

Public Health Relevance

One of the primary causes of infertility is the aging, and resulting poor quality, of the oocyte. The condition of premature ovarian aging, or primary ovarian insufficiency, affects 1% of women under the age of 40 as a result of ovarian follicle disorder or depletion. Understanding the mechanisms of follicle deregulation will provide important information to the field of Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART), and may also aid in developing treatments for infertility. This project examines the mechanistic role of a tissue-specific transcription factor in regulating the ovarian epigenome and preventing oocyte senescence.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Murthy, Mahadev
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Brown University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Grive, Kathryn J; Freiman, Richard N (2015) The developmental origins of the mammalian ovarian reserve. Development 142:2554-63
Grive, Kathryn J; Seymour, Kimberly A; Mehta, Rajvi et al. (2014) TAF4b promotes mouse primordial follicle assembly and oocyte survival. Dev Biol 392:42-51