International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Mar 2020)

Chromosome Missegregation in Single Human Oocytes Is Related to the Age and Gene Expression Profile

  • Stefano Barone,
  • Patrizia Sarogni,
  • Roberto Valli,
  • Maria Michela Pallotta,
  • Gazzi Silvia,
  • Annalisa Frattini,
  • Abdul Waheed Khan,
  • Erika Rapalini,
  • Cristiana Parri,
  • Antonio Musio

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 6
p. 1934


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The growing trend for women to postpone childbearing has resulted in a dramatic increase in the incidence of aneuploid pregnancies. Despite the importance to human reproductive health, the events precipitating female age-related meiotic errors are poorly understood. To gain new insight into the molecular basis of age-related chromosome missegregation in human oocytes, we combined the transcriptome profiles of twenty single oocytes (derived from females divided into two groups according to age <35 and ≥35 years) with their chromosome status obtained by array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). Furthermore, we compared the transcription profile of the single oocyte with the surrounding cumulus cells (CCs). RNA-seq data showed differences in gene expression between young and old oocytes. Dysregulated genes play a role in important biological processes such as gene transcription regulation, cytoskeleton organization, pathways related to RNA maturation and translation. The comparison of the transcription profile of the oocyte and the corresponding CCs highlighted the differential expression of genes belonging to the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily. Finally, we detected the loss of a X chromosome in two oocytes derived from women belonging to the ≥35 years age group. These aneuploidies may be caused by the detriment of REEP4, an endoplasmic reticulum protein, in women aged ≥35 years. Here we gained new insight into the complex regulatory circuit between the oocyte and the surrounding CCs and uncovered a new putative molecular basis of age-related chromosome missegregation in human oocytes.