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Fate of microinjected spermatid mitochondria in the mouse oocyte and embryo

Cummins, J.M., Wakayama, T. and Yanagimachi, R. (1998) Fate of microinjected spermatid mitochondria in the mouse oocyte and embryo. Zygote, 6 (3). pp. 213-222.

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Mouse round spermatids labelled with MitoTracker were microinjected into Sr2+-activated mouse oocytes. The labelled mitochondria were tracked up to the morula/blastocyst stage using fluorescence microscopy. The overall incidence of embryos with labelled mitochondria fell from 80% in the 1-cell zygote to 25% in 2-cell, 9% in 4-cell and ~1% in 8-cell or later stages. Thus it appears that almost all round spermatid mitochondria finally disappear from embryos during the 4-cell to 8-cell transition, as happens for mature spermatozoa (Cummins et al. Zygote 1997, 5: 301–8). The spermatid mitochondria remained tightly bound together during this process. In contrast, labelled primary spermatocyte and cumulus mitochondria dispersed rapidly throughout the oocyte cytoplasm within 3 h. We hypothesise that spermatid mitochondria may be bound together by cytoskeletal elements produced in the early haploid spermatid. These elements, together with terminal differentiation of the sperm mitochondria, may be central to the processes by which the embryo ‘recognises’ the sperm mitochondria and inhibits inheritance of paternal mitochondrial DNA. These results suggest that round spermatid injection for infertile men will not pose a significant risk to offspring by transmitting abnormal mitochondrial genomes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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