Single nucleolus precursor body formation in the pronucleus of mouse zygotes and SCNT embryos
Mammalian oocytes and zygotes have nucleoli that are transcriptionally inactive and structurally distinct from nucleoli in somatic cells. These nucleoli have been termed nucleolus precursor bodies (NPBs). Recent research has shown that NPBs are important for embryonic development, but they are only required during pronuclear formation. After fertilization, multiple small NPBs are transiently formed in male and female pronuclei and then fuse into a single large NPB in zygotes. In cloned embryos
... In cloned embryos produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), multiple NPBs are formed and maintained in the pseudo-pronucleus, and this is considered an abnormality of the cloned embryos. Despite this difference between SCNT and normal embryos, it is unclear how the size and number of NPBs in pronuclei is determined. Here, we show that in mouse embryos, the volume of NPB materials plays a major role in the NPB scaling through a limiting component mechanism and determines whether a single or multiple NPBs will form in the pronucleus. Extra NPB-and extra MII spindle-injection experiments demonstrated that the total volume of NPBs was maintained regardless of the pronucleus number and the ratio of pronucleus/NPB is important for fusion into a single NPB. Based on these results, we examined whether extra-NPB injection rescued multiple NPB maintenance in SCNT embryos. When extra-NPBs were injected into enucleated-MII oocytes before SCNT, the number of NPBs in pseudo-pronuclei of SCNT embryos was reduced. These results indicate that multiple NPB maintenance in SCNT embryos is caused by insufficient volume of NPB.