Germline development

  • Letter |

    The effect of vitamin C deprivation on mouse germline development is analysed, revealing that maternal vitamin C is required for proper DNA demethylation and the development of fetal oocytes, whereas the lack of vitamin C during pregnancy leads to reduced female fecundity in the offspring.

    • Stephanie P. DiTroia
    • , Michelle Percharde
    •  & Miguel Ramalho-Santos
  • Article |

    Analyses of insect eggs as well as genetic and life-history traits of insects show that where eggs are laid, rather than universal allometric constants, developmental rate or adult body size, underlies size and shape evolution.

    • Samuel H. Church
    • , Seth Donoughe
    •  & Cassandra G. Extavour
  • Letter |

    The transcription factor OTX2 ensures that germline induction is initially kept in check and only proceeds after OTX2 downregulation.

    • Jingchao Zhang
    • , Man Zhang
    •  & Ian Chambers
  • Letter |

    Gonadal germline epigenetic reprogramming involves an interplay between DNA methylation, the polycomb complex and Tet1 in both DNA methylation dependent and independent roles, to ensure the activation of a specific subset of genes critical for progression of gametogenesis.

    • Peter W. S. Hill
    • , Harry G. Leitch
    •  & Petra Hajkova
  • Letter |

    Using a protocol that recapitulates both meiosis and oocyte growth in vitro, the authors induce mouse pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into fully functional oocytes that can be fertilized and generate viable offspring, thereby recapitulating the full mammalian female germline cycle in a dish.

    • Orie Hikabe
    • , Nobuhiko Hamazaki
    •  & Katsuhiko Hayashi
  • Letter |

    Maternal mRNAs are tethered within the Drosophila germ plasm via base-pairing interactions between mRNAs and piRNPs containing the Aub Piwi protein; the preference for certain mRNAs to be tethered appears to be related to their longer length, which provides more potential piRNP-binding sites, and the results suggest a new role for piRNAs in germ-cell specification independent of their role in transposon silencing.

    • Anastassios Vourekas
    • , Panagiotis Alexiou
    •  & Zissimos Mourelatos
  • Letter |

    In mouse embryonic stem cells converted to an epiblast fate in vitro—a state in which the cells can also gain germ cell fate if exposed to the signalling molecule BMP4—the sole expression of the transcription factor NANOG is shown to be sufficient to induce germ cell fate, in the absence of BMP4.

    • Kazuhiro Murakami
    • , Ufuk Günesdogan
    •  & M. Azim Surani
  • Article |

    The egg receptor for Izumo, a sperm cell-surface protein required for male fertility, is identified here and renamed Juno; these findings show that the Izumo–Juno interaction is conserved within mammals, and open new opportunities for the development of fertility treatments and contraceptives.

    • Enrica Bianchi
    • , Brendan Doe
    •  & Gavin J. Wright
  • Letter |

    This study establishes an important role for the enzyme Tet1 in erasing genomic imprinting in vivo — mice with a knockout of paternal Tet1 give rise to progeny with imprinting defects and associated growth and development defects, which leads to early embryonic lethality; furthermore, analysis of the DNA methylation dynamics in reprogramming primordial germ cells (PGCs) suggests that Tet1 is required at a late stage of the reprogramming process, in the second wave of DNA demethylation in PGCs.

    • Shinpei Yamaguchi
    • , Li Shen
    •  & Yi Zhang
  • Letter |

    Interstrand crosslink (ICL) repair involves proteins whose mutation results in the disorder Fanconi anaemia: here gene knockdown studies in mice show that the absence of HELQ, a protein previously implicated in ICL repair, compromises germ cell development and results in tumour predisposition due to defective recombination at damaged replication forks.

    • Carrie A. Adelman
    • , Rafal L. Lolo
    •  & Simon J. Boulton
  • Letter |

    The Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) is found to have important gene-dosage-dependent and sex-specific roles in primordial germ cell (PGC) development, including the maintenance of high levels of Oct4 and Nanog and ensuring the proper timing of meiosis through the suppression of retinoic acid signalling in female PGCs.

    • Shihori Yokobayashi
    • , Ching-Yeu Liang
    •  & Antoine H. F. M. Peters
  • Letter |

    A loss-of-function approach in mice is used to show that the methylcytosine dioxygenase Tet1 has a role in regulating meiosis and meiotic gene activation in female germ cells; Tet1 deficiency does not greatly affect genome-wide demethylation but has a more specific effect on the expression of a subset of meiotic genes.

    • Shinpei Yamaguchi
    • , Kwonho Hong
    •  & Yi Zhang
  • Letter |

    Centromere identity is thought to be epigenetically propagated by stable inheritance of nucleosomes containing the histone variant CENP-A; the authors propose a different model here in which germline transcription defines the genomic regions that exclude CENP-A incorporation during embryogenesis in the holocentric worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

    • Reto Gassmann
    • , Andreas Rechtsteiner
    •  & Arshad Desai
  • Letter |

    Reproducing the complex process of spermatogenesis in vitro might lead to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for male infertility. This study establishes in vitro organ culture conditions that can support complete spermatogenesis in mice. The in-vitro-derived spermatids and sperm produced healthy and fertile mice, and testis tissue fragments used as a starting material for in vitro spermatogenesis could be cryopreserved for months and then resumed full spermatogenesis in vitro.

    • Takuya Sato
    • , Kumiko Katagiri
    •  & Takehiko Ogawa