Life Science Alliance
Filopodia-like protrusions of adjacent somatic cells shape the developmental potential of oocytes
Flora Crozet, Gaëlle Letort, Rose Bulteau, Christelle Da Silva, Adrien Eichmuller, Anna Francesca Tortorelli, Joséphine Blévinal, Morgane Belle, Julien Dumont, Tristan Piolot, Aurélien Dauphin, Fanny Coulpier, Alain Chédotal, Jean-Léon Maître, Marie-Hélène Verlhac, Hugh J Clarke, Marie-Emilie Terret
The oocyte must grow and mature before fertilization, thanks to a close dialogue with the somatic cells that surround it. Part of this communication is through filopodia-like protrusions, called transzonal projections (TZPs), sent by the somatic cells to the oocyte membrane. To investigate the contribution of TZPs to oocyte quality, we impaired their structure by generating a full knockout mouse of the TZP structural component myosin-X (MYO10). Using spinning disk and super-resolution microscopy combined with a machine-learning approach to phenotype oocyte morphology, we show that the lack of Myo10 decreases TZP density during oocyte growth. Reduction in TZPs does not prevent oocyte growth but impairs oocyte-matrix integrity. Importantly, we reveal by transcriptomic analysis that gene expression is altered in TZP-deprived oocytes and that oocyte maturation and subsequent early embryonic development are partially affected, effectively reducing mouse fertility. We propose that TZPs play a role in the structural integrity of the germline-somatic complex, which is essential for regulating gene expression in the oocyte and thus its developmental potential.