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Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation

Christina Fassnacht, Rafal Ciosk
This chapter reviews our current understanding of the mechanisms that regulate reprogramming during the oocyte-to-embryo transition (OET). There are two major events reshaping the transcriptome during OET. One is the clearance of maternal transcripts in the early embryo, extensively reviewed by others. The other event, which is the focus of this chapter, is the embryonic (or zygotic) genome activation (EGA). The mechanisms controlling EGA can be broadly divided into transcriptional and posttranscriptional. The former includes the regulation of the basal transcription machinery, the regulation by specific transcription factors and chromatin modifications...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Hieu D Hoang, Michael A Miller
Fertilization, the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is a fundamental process that restores the diploid genome and initiates embryonic development. For the sperm, fertilization is the end of a long journey, one that starts in the male testis before transitioning to the female reproductive tract's convoluted tubule architecture. Historically, motile sperm were thought to complete this journey using luck and numbers. A different picture of sperm has emerged recently as cells that integrate complex sensory information for navigation...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Marc Yeste, Celine Jones, Siti Nornadhirah Amdani, Kevin Coward
This chapter intends to summarise the importance of sperm- and oocyte-derived factors in the processes of sperm-oocyte binding and oocyte activation. First, we describe the initial interaction between sperm and the zona pellucida, with particular regard to acrosome exocytosis. We then describe how sperm and oocyte membranes fuse, with special reference to the discovery of the sperm protein IZUMO1 and its interaction with the oocyte membrane receptor JUNO. We then focus specifically upon oocyte activation, the fundamental process by which the oocyte is alleviated from metaphase II arrest by a sperm-soluble factor...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Ewa Borsuk, Joanna Jachowicz, Malgorzata Kloc, Jean-Pierre Tassan, Jacek Z Kubiak
Cdc6 is an important player in cell cycle regulation. It is involved in the regulation of both S-phase and M-phase. Its role during oogenesis is crucial for repression of the S-phase between the first and the second meiotic M-phases, and it also regulates, via CDK1 inhibition, the M-phase entry and exit. This is of special importance for the reactivation of the major M-phase-regulating kinase CDK1 (Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 1) in oocytes entering metaphase II of meiosis and in embryo cleavage divisions, in which precise timing allows coordination between cell cycle events and developmental program of the embryo...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Kumari Pushpa, Ganga Anil Kumar, Kuppuswamy Subramaniam
Germline poses unique challenges to gene expression control at the transcriptional level. While the embryonic germline maintains a global hold on new mRNA transcription, the female adult germline produces transcripts that are not translated into proteins until embryogenesis of subsequent generation. As a consequence, translational control plays a central role in governing various germ cell decisions including the formation of primordial germ cells, self-renewal/differentiation decisions in the adult germline, onset of gametogenesis and oocyte maturation...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Rachel Reichman, Benjamin Alleva, Sarit Smolikove
Formation of an oocyte involves a specialized cell division termed meiosis. In meiotic prophase I (the initial stage of meiosis), chromosomes undergo elaborate events to ensure the proper segregation of their chromosomes into gametes. These events include processes leading to the formation of a crossover that, along with sister chromatid cohesion, forms the physical link between homologous chromosomes. Crossovers are formed as an outcome of recombination. This process initiates with programmed double-strand breaks that are repaired through the use of homologous chromosomes as a repair template...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Swathi Arur
Generation of healthy oocytes requires coordinated regulation of multiple cellular events and signaling pathways. Oocytes undergo a unique developmental growth and differentiation pattern interspersed with long periods of arrest. Oocytes from almost all species arrest in prophase I of oogenesis that allows for long period of growth and differentiation essential for normal oocyte development. Depending on species, oocytes that transit from prophase I to meiosis I also arrest at meiosis I for fairly long periods of time and then undergo a second arrest at meiosis II that is completed upon fertilization...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Kaitlin M Laws, Daniela Drummond-Barbosa
Tight coupling of reproduction to environmental factors and physiological status is key to long-term species survival. In particular, highly conserved pathways modulate germline stem cell lineages according to nutrient availability. This chapter focuses on recent in vivo studies in genetic model organisms that shed light on how diet-dependent signals control the proliferation, maintenance, and survival of adult germline stem cells and their progeny. These signaling pathways can operate intrinsically in the germ line, modulate the niche, or act through intermediate organs to influence stem cells and their differentiating progeny...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Ramya Singh, Dave Hansen
In many animals, reproductive fitness is dependent upon the production of large numbers of gametes over an extended period of time. This level of gamete production is possible due to the continued presence of germ line stem cells. These cells can produce two types of daughter cells, self-renewing daughter cells that will maintain the stem cell population and differentiating daughter cells that will become gametes. A balance must be maintained between the proliferating self-renewing cells and those that differentiate for long-term gamete production to be maintained...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Pooja Flora, Alicia McCarthy, Maitreyi Upadhyay, Prashanth Rangan
During Drosophila oogenesis, germline stem cells (GSCs) self-renew and differentiate to give rise to a mature egg. Self-renewal and differentiation of GSCs are regulated by both intrinsic mechanisms such as regulation of gene expression in the germ line and extrinsic signaling pathways from the surrounding somatic niche. Epigenetic mechanisms, including histone-modifying proteins, nucleosome remodeling complexes, and histone variants, play a critical role in regulating intrinsic gene expression and extrinsic signaling cues from the somatic niche...
2017: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Rafal P Piprek
Current knowledge on gonadal development and sex determination is the product of many decades of research involving a variety of scientific methods from different biological disciplines such as histology, genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. The earliest embryological investigations, followed by the invention of microscopy and staining methods, were based on histological examinations. The most robust development of histological staining techniques occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century and resulted in structural descriptions of gonadogenesis...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Anna Biason-Lauber
The process of sexual differentiation is central for reproduction of almost all metazoan and therefore for maintenance of practically all multicellular organisms. In sex development we can distinguish two different processes: First, sex determination is the developmental decision that directs the undifferentiated embryo into a sexually dimorphic individual. In mammals, sex determination equals gonadal development. The second process known as sex differentiation takes place once the sex determination decision has been made through factors produced by the gonads that determine the development of the phenotypic sex...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Hadas Grossman, Ruth Shalgi
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a group of small noncoding RNA molecules that play a major role in posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression and are expressed in an organ-specific manner. One miRNA can potentially regulate the expression of several genes, depending on cell type and differentiation stage. miRNAs are differentially expressed in the male and female gonads and have an organ-specific reproductive function. Exerting their affect through germ cells and gonadal somatic cells, miRNAs regulate key proteins necessary for gonad development...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Ji Wu, Xinbao Ding, Jian Wang
Stem cells have great value in clinical application because of their ability to self-renew and their potential to differentiate into many different cell types. Mammalian gonads, including testes for males and ovaries for females, are composed of germline and somatic cells. In male mammals, spermatogonial stem cells maintain spermatogenesis which occurs continuously in adult testis. Likewise, a growing body of evidence demonstrated that female germline stem cells could be found in mammalian ovaries. Meanwhile, prior studies have shown that somatic stem cells exist in both testes and ovaries...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Jennifer M Mecklenburg, Brian P Hermann
Mammalian spermatogenesis is a complex and highly ordered process by which male germ cells proceed through a series of differentiation steps to produce haploid flagellated spermatozoa. Underlying this process is a pool of adult stem cells, the spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), which commence the spermatogenic lineage by undertaking a differentiation fate decision to become progenitor spermatogonia. Subsequently, progenitors acquire a differentiating spermatogonia phenotype and undergo a series of amplifying mitoses while becoming competent to enter meiosis...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Katarzyna Chojnacka, Marta Zarzycka, Dolores D Mruk
A healthy man typically produces between 50 × 10(6) and 200 × 10(6) spermatozoa per day by spermatogenesis; in the absence of Sertoli cells in the male gonad, this individual would be infertile. In the adult testis, Sertoli cells are sustentacular cells that support germ cell development by secreting proteins and other important biomolecules that are essential for germ cell survival and maturation, establishing the blood-testis barrier, and facilitating spermatozoa detachment at spermiation. In the fetal testis, on the other hand, pre-Sertoli cells form the testis cords, the future seminiferous tubules...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Stephany El-Hayek, Hugh J Clarke
In the mammalian ovary, each oocyte grows and develops within its own structural and developmental niche-the follicle. Together with the female germ cell in the follicle are somatic granulosa cells, specialized companion cells that surround the oocyte and provide support to it, and an outer layer of thecal cells that serve crucial roles including steroid synthesis. These follicular compartments function as a single physiological unit whose purpose is to produce a healthy egg, which upon ovulation can be fertilized and give rise to a healthy embryo, thus enabling the female germ cell to fulfill its reproductive potential...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Nitzan Rimon-Dahari, Lia Yerushalmi-Heinemann, Liat Alyagor, Nava Dekel
The ovary, the female gonad, serves as the source for the germ cells as well as the major supplier of steroid sex hormones. During embryonic development, the primordial germ cells (PGCs) are specified, migrate to the site of the future gonad, and proliferate, forming structures of germ cells nests, which will eventually break down to generate the primordial follicles (PMFs). Each PMF contains an oocyte arrested at the first prophase of meiosis, surrounded by a flattened layer of somatic pre-granulosa cells...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Kellie S Agrimson, Cathryn A Hogarth
The core of the decision to commit to either oogenesis or spermatogenesis lies in the timing of meiotic entry. Primordial germ cells within the fetal ovary become committed to the female pathway prior to birth and enter meiosis during embryonic development. In the fetal testis, however, the germ cells are protected from this signal before birth and instead receive this trigger postnatally. There is a growing body of evidence to indicate that RA is the meiosis-inducing factor in both sexes, with the gender-specific timing of meiotic entry controlled via degradation of this molecule only within the fetal testis...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
Sarah J Potter, Deepti Lava Kumar, Tony DeFalco
Sexual reproduction is dependent on the activity of androgenic steroid hormones to promote gonadal development and gametogenesis. Leydig cells of the testis and theca cells of the ovary are critical cell types in the gonadal interstitium that carry out steroidogenesis and provide key androgens for reproductive organ function. In this chapter, we will discuss important aspects of interstitial androgenic cell development in the gonad, including: the potential cellular origins of interstitial steroidogenic cells and their progenitors; the molecular mechanisms involved in Leydig cell specification and differentiation (including Sertoli-cell-derived signaling pathways and Leydig-cell-related transcription factors and nuclear receptors); the interactions of Leydig cells with other cell types in the adult testis, such as Sertoli cells, germ cells, peritubular myoid cells, macrophages, and vascular endothelial cells; the process of steroidogenesis and its systemic regulation; and a brief discussion of the development of theca cells in the ovary relative to Leydig cells in the testis...
2016: Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation
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