Reproduction, fertility, and development

Exposure to Brefeldin A promotes initiation of meiosis in murine female germ cells.

PMID 24209976


In mammals, ontogenesis starts from a fusion of spermatozoon and oocyte, which are produced by reductive nuclear division of a diploid germ cell in a specialised but complex biological process known as meiosis. However, little is known about the mechanism of meiotic initiation in germ cells, although many factors may be responsible for meiosis both in male and female gonads. In this study, 11.5 days post coitum (dpc) female fetal mouse genital ridges were cultured in vitro with exposure to Brefeldin A (BFA) for 6h, and the changes in meiosis were detected. Synaptonemal-complex analysis implied that BFA played a positive role in meiosis initiation and this hypothesis was confirmed by quantitative PCR of meiosis-specific genes: stimulated by retinoic acid gene 8 (Stra8) and deleted in a zoospermia-like (DAZL). At the same time, mRNA expression of retinoic acid synthetase (Raldh2) and retinoic acid (RA) receptors increased in female gonads with in vitro exposure to BFA. Transplanting genital ridges treated with BFA into the kidney capsule of immunodeficient mice demonstrated that the development capacity of female germ cells was normal, while formation of primordial follicles was seen to be a result of accelerated meiosis after exposure to BFA. In conclusion, the study indicated that BFA stimulated meiosis initiation partly by RA signalling and then promoted the development of follicles.