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Title: The oocyte-activation factor, phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) : clinical prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment of oocyte activation deficiency
Author: Amdani, Siti Nornadhirah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6501 1632
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Oocyte activation deficiency (OAD) is an infertile condition observed in patients who have experienced recurrent total fertilisation failure (TFF) following intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment. This condition was considered to be an idiopathic factor for a long time but strong clinical evidence now suggests that dysfunctional forms of phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) may be predominant causative factors for OAD. Genetic contribution has played a role in patients suspected of having OAD, as four PLCζ exonic mutations have been discovered and characterised as being the cause of infertility. In this study, a novel nonsense mutation, PLCζK322Stop, was identified in the PLCζ XY-linker region of Patient LR. This variant results in the truncation of approximately half of PLCζ, therefore was non-functional when activity was tested. Patient LR, which also exhibited a previously reported mutation, PLCζH233L, may suggest that the patient is sub-fertile, as opposed to being infertile, as initially expected. Although research has purely focused upon the coding regions of PLCζ, it was obvious that our knowledge of PLCζ regulatory elements remain very limited. Next generation sequencing (NGS) was therefore employed to detect variants in the non-coding regions of PLCζ, promoter and introns, which may have resulted in the observed phenotypic diversity of PLCζ expression in fertile and infertile patients. As a result of mapping failure, an alternative approach was considered to identify variants within human PLCζ, and this involved using the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) database. Over 2500 SNPs were localised in the intronic regions of PLCζ and thus, it could be speculated that these variants may help elucidate the wide variation of PLCζ expression reported. Additionally, two particular patients with TFF (79 and 107) were investigated in this study to identify an association with PLCζ and their infertile state. For Patient 79, multiple PLCζ immunofluorescence analysis was performed and a significant improvement in PLCζ expression was observed one year after his first investigation. This may have been the result of an external factor, which influenced protein expression. As for Patient 107, a novel substitution mutation, PLCζV193E, was identified and was predicted to affect PLCζ stability and folding. There is global interest to create a safer and alternative OAD therapy, namely a human recombinant PLCζ protein (hrPLCζ). The first method, using a bacterial cell line resulted in successful purification and identification but the product proved to be inactive following mouse oocyte microinjection. The second method involved production of a mammalian-expressed hrPLCζ, which was successfully purified and identified but due to time restrictions, could not be tested for functionality. Concurrently, the findings in this thesis have reinforced the association between PLCζ and OAD, and provided improved options for the diagnosis and treatment of OAD.
Supervisor: Coward, Kevin Sponsor: Universiti Brunei Darussalam ; Ministry of Education ; Brunei Darussalam
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: next generation sequencing (NGS) ; variants ; promoter ; phospholipase C zeta (PLC?) ; human recombinant PLC? protein (hrPLC?) ; introns ; Oocyte activation deficiency (OAD)