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Title: The function of gametocyte specific factor 1 (GTSF1) in mammalian oocyte and ovarian follicle development
Author: Liperis, Georgios
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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A detailed understanding of the genes and mechanisms that regulate oocyte growth and maturation underpins the development of improved methods of assisted conception. Gametocyte specific factor 1 (GTSF1)-a putative marker of gamete developmental competence, is highly conserved across species but in mammals demonstrates a sexual dimorphism in its function. In mice, male mutants for Gtsf1 have an infertile phenotype, whereas female mutants appear to have normal ovarian function. It is hypothesised that GTSF1 regulates oocyte development in monovular species such as the sheep. Initial studies characterised the expression and cellular distribution of GTSF1 across cDNA libraries spanning ovine oogenesis and embryogenesis and by using in situ hybridisation of fixed tissue. GTSF1 expression was confined to gonadal and embryonic tissues with highest expression in the ooplasm of germinal vesicle (GV)-staged secondary oocytes. The gene sequence of GTSF1 was obtained and the gene and predicted protein sequences revealed close homology across many species with two conserved CHHC zinc finger domains known to bind RNA. Functional analysis of the role of GTSF1 during sheep oocyte maturation was conducted using short interference RNA (siRNA injection) in conjunction with oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM) and oocytectomised cumulus shell co-culture. This system was validated using siRNA knockdown (kd) for a known oocyte-specific gene, Growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9). The effect on GTSF1 kd was evaluated following the microinjection of 770 GV oocytes with siRNA target against the sixth exon of ovine GTSF1. The effects of GTSF1 kd were evaluated in 57 MII oocytes and cumulus shells. Targeted kd of GTSF1 in GV oocytes followed by IVM and cumulus shell co-culture did not affect oocyte meiotic progression or cumulus expansion. Microarray analysis using the bovine GeneChip Affymetrix array revealed that 6 down-regulated genes (TCOF1, RPS8, CACNA1D, SREK1IP1, TIMP1, MYL9) following the GTSF1 kd were associated with developmental competence, RNA storage, post-transcriptional modifications and translation. Immunofluorescent studies localized GTSF1 protein to the P-body in GV ovine oocytes. Collectively these results suggest a possible role of GTSF1 in post-transcriptional control of RNA processing, translational regulation and RNA storage which may impact on oocyte developmental competence.
Supervisor: Picton, Helen ; Huntriss, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available