This R03 project will characterize the functions in female meiosis of 1-endosulfine (known as Endos in Drosophila and ENSA in mammals). Endos is implicated in oocyte meiotic maturation from exciting studies in Drosophila, with endos-deficient oocytes having defects in progression from prophase I arrest and in organization of the metaphase I spindle (Development 135:3697). Additionally, Endos was identified in an RNAi screen for factors required for mitotic spindle assembly in Drosophila S2 cells (Science 316:417). Finally, human Ensa rescues the meiotic arrest phenotype in Drosophila endos- deficient oocytes (Development 135:3697), suggesting evolutionary conservation of a meiotic function for Endos/ENSA. The research proposed here will take the next step and directly examine ENSA functions in mouse oocytes, testing the broad, overall hypothesis that Endos/ENSA is part of an evolutionarily conserved pathway controlling meiotic maturation. This hypothesis will be examined with two Specific Aims.
In Aim 1, we will characterize the expression and localization of Endos/ENSA in mouse oocytes during progression through meiosis. Immunohistochemistry of mouse ovarian sections using an anti-Endos antibody shows staining of oocytes and somatic cells (Development 135:3697), and our preliminary studies presented here show that mouse oocytes express ENSA. More detailed data will advance our understanding of ENSA function in mammalian female meiosis, and will set the stage for future studies. Additionally, the work in this aim on the expression and localization of ENSA will be complemented by similar characterization of a candidate upstream regulator of ENSA, the kinase known as Greatwall or MASTL (Microtubule-Associated Serine/Threonine kinase-Like), which we find is abundantly expressed in mouse eggs.
In Aim 2, we will determine the effects of ENSA disruption (knockdown or overexpression) on meiotic maturation of mouse oocytes. Endos affects Drosophila meiotic maturation by promoting the stability of Polo-like kinase and Cdc25 (Development 135:3697). Based on these results, we hypothesize that (a) knockdown of Ensa in mouse oocytes will result in persistent prophase I arrest or delayed progression out of prophase I arrest, combined with meiotic spindle assembly defects, and (b) overexpression of Ensa in mouse oocytes will result in exit from prophase I arrest even culture conditions that should maintain this arrest, and/or accelerated progression through meiosis. Our ultimate goal for this work is to develop a broader, long-term project on ENSA in mammalian oocyte meiotic maturation, built on the foundation of data generated through this pilot study.

Public Health Relevance

Meiosis is a fundamentally important cell division process that generates the haploid gametes (sperm and egg). Errors during female meiosis can be a significant cause of infertility and of chromosomal abnormalities in gametes and embryos;such chromosomal errors are detected in 7-10% of clinically recognized pregnancies. This research project will examine a novel molecule that is a candidate to regulate female meiosis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-N (EJ))
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Taymans, Susan
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Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Matthews, Lauren M; Evans, Janice P (2014) ?-endosulfine (ENSA) regulates exit from prophase I arrest in mouse oocytes. Cell Cycle 13:1639-49