Human oocytes frequently generate aneuploid embryos that subsequently miscarry. In contrast, Drosophila oocytes from outbred laboratory stocks develop fully regardless of maternal age. Since mature Drosophila oocytes are not extensively stored in the ovary under laboratory conditions like they are in the wild, we developed a system to investigate how storage affects oocyte quality. The developmental capacity of stored mature Drosophila oocytes decays in a precise manner over 14 days at 25oC. These oocytes are transcriptionally inactive and persist using ongoing translation of stored mRNAs. Ribosome profiling revealed a progressive 2.3-fold decline in average translational efficiency during storage that correlates with oocyte functional decay. Although normal bipolar meiotic spindles predominate during the first week, oocytes stored for longer periods increasingly show tripolar, monopolar and other spindle defects, and give rise to embryos that fail to develop due to aneuploidy. Thus, meiotic chromosome segregation in mature Drosophila oocytes is uniquely sensitive to prolonged storage. Our work suggests the chromosome instability of human embryos could be mitigated by reducing the period of time mature human oocytes are stored in the ovary prior to ovulation.
- Allan C Spradling
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Michael B Eisen, HHMI, University of California, Berkeley, United States
© 2019, Greenblatt et al.
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