Oocyte-specific ablation of N- and O-glycans alters cumulus cell signalling and extracellular matrix composition
Lo BKM., Archibong-Omon A., Ploutarchou P., Day AJ., Milner CM., Williams SA.
<jats:p> Cumulus–oocyte complex (COC) expansion is essential for ovulation and fertilisation and is linked to oocyte quality. Hyaluronan (HA), the major matrix constituent, is cross-linked via inter-α-inhibitor heavy chains (HCs), pentraxin 3 (PTX3) and tumour necrosis factor-stimulated gene 6 (TSG-6). All except HCs are secreted by cumulus cells in response to oocyte-secreted factors, which signal via SMAD pathways. The double mutant (DM) mouse generates oocytes lacking complex N- and O-glycans due to oocyte-specific deletion of core 1 β1,3-galactosyltransferase (C1galt1) and N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I (Mgat1) and has modified cumulus expansion. We compared COCs before expansion (48 h-post-pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin (PMSG)) and at late-stage expansion (9 h-post-human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG); control n=3 mice, DM n=3 per group). Using histochemistry the levels of HA, HCs, PTX3, TSG-6 and phosphorylated-SMAD1/5/8 and -SMAD2 (12–25 COCs per group) were assessed. DM COCs did not differ from Controls in cumulus size or cell density at 9 h-post-hCG; however, HA and HC levels and phosphorylated-SMAD1/5/8 were reduced. Furthermore, no correlations were found between the levels of matrix molecules and cumulus area in DM or Control samples. These data suggest that HA and HCs can support cumulus expansion provided that they are present above minimum threshold levels. We propose that oocyte-specific ablation of C1galt1 and Mgat1 may affect bone morphogenetic protein 15 synthesis or bioactivity, thereby reducing SMAD1/5/8 phosphorylation and HA production. </jats:p>