Intercellular bridges coordinate the transition from pluripotency to meiosis in mouse fetal oocytes

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Science Advances  07 Apr 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 15, eabc6747
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc6747


Meiosis is critical to generating oocytes and ensuring female fertility; however, the mechanisms regulating the switch from mitotic primordial germ cells to meiotic germ cells are poorly understood. Here, we implicate intercellular bridges (ICBs) in this state transition. We used three-dimensional in toto imaging to map meiotic initiation in the mouse fetal ovary and revealed a radial geometry of this transition that precedes the established anterior-posterior wave. Our studies reveal that appropriate timing of meiotic entry across the ovary and coordination of mitotic-meiotic transition within a cyst depend on the ICB component Tex14, which we show is required for functional cytoplasmic sharing. We find that Tex14 mutants more rapidly attenuate the pluripotency transcript Dppa3 upon meiotic initiation, and Dppa3 mutants undergo premature meiosis similar to Tex14. Together, these results lead to a model that ICBs coordinate and buffer the transition from pluripotency to meiosis through dilution of regulatory factors.

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