NLRPs, the subcortical maternal complex and genomic imprinting
Before activation of the embryonic genome, the oocyte provides many of the RNAs and proteins required for the epigenetic reprogramming and the transition to a totipotent state. Targeted disruption of a subset of oocyte-derived transcripts in mice results in early embryonic lethality and cleavage-stage embryonic arrest as highlighted by the members of the subcortical maternal complex (SCMC). Maternal-effect recessive mutations of NLRP7, KHDC3L and NLRP5 in humans are associated with variable reproductive outcomes, biparental hydatidiform moles (BiHM) and widespread multi-locus imprinting disturbances. The precise mechanism of action of these genes is unknown, but the maternal-effect phenomenon suggests a function during early pre-implantation development, while biochemical and genetic studies implement them as SCMC members or interacting partners. In this review article, we discuss the role of the NLRP family members and the SCMC proteins in the establishment of genomic imprints and post-zygotic methylation maintenance, the recent advances made in the understanding of the biology involved in BiHM formation and the wider roles of the SCMC in mammalian reproduction.
Source: The journal of Reproductive Science