Cell-secreted vesicles containing microRNAs as regulators of gamete maturation. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Cell-secreted vesicles containing microRNAs as regulators of gamete maturation.
J Endocrinol. 2018 Jan ;236(1):R15-R27. Epub 2017 Sep 4. PMID: 28870888
Juliano C da Silveira
Mammalian gamete maturation requires extensive signaling between germ cells and their surrounding somatic cells. In the ovary, theca cells, mural granulosa cells, cumulus cells and the oocyte all secrete factors throughout follicle growth and maturation that are critical for ovulation of a high-quality oocyte with the competence to develop into an embryo. Similarly, maturation of sperm occurs as it transits the epididymis during which epididymal epithelium and sperm exchange secretory factors that are required for sperm to gain motility and fertility. Recent studies in a variety of species have uncovered the presence of cell-secreted vesicles in follicular fluid (microvesicles and exosomes) and epididymal fluid (epididymosomes). Moreover, these cell-secreted vesicles contain small non-coding regulatory RNAs called microRNAs, which can be shuttled between maturing gametes and surrounding somatic cells. Although little is known about the exact mechanism of how microRNAs are loaded into these cell-secreted vesicles or are transferred and modulate gene expression and function in gametes, recent studies clearly suggest that cell-secreted vesicle microRNAs play a role in oocyte and sperm maturation. Moreover, a role for cell-secreted vesicular microRNAs in gamete maturation provides for novel opportunities to modulate and discover new diagnostic markers associated with male or female fertility. This manuscript provides an overview of cell-secreted vesicles in ovarian follicular fluid and epididymal fluid and microRNAs and discusses recent discoveries on the potential function of cell-secreted vesicles as carriers of microRNAs in oocyte and sperm maturation.