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Heterochromatin Morphodynamics in Late Oogenesis and Early Embryogenesis of Mammals

Laboratory of Cell Morphology, Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 4 Tikhoretsky ave., 194064 St. Petersburg, Russia
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Cells 2020, 9(6), 1497; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9061497
Received: 13 May 2020 / Revised: 10 June 2020 / Accepted: 16 June 2020 / Published: 19 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heterochromatin Formation and Function)
During the period of oocyte growth, chromatin undergoes global rearrangements at both morphological and molecular levels. An intriguing feature of oogenesis in some mammalian species is the formation of a heterochromatin ring-shaped structure, called the karyosphere or surrounded “nucleolus”, which is associated with the periphery of the nucleolus-like bodies (NLBs). Morphologically similar heterochromatin structures also form around the nucleolus-precursor bodies (NPBs) in zygotes and persist for several first cleavage divisions in blastomeres. Despite recent progress in our understanding the regulation of gene silencing/expression during early mammalian development, as well as the molecular mechanisms that underlie chromatin condensation and heterochromatin structure, the biological significance of the karyosphere and its counterparts in early embryos is still elusive. We pay attention to both the changes of heterochromatin morphology and to the molecular mechanisms that can affect the configuration and functional activity of chromatin. We briefly discuss how DNA methylation, post-translational histone modifications, alternative histone variants, and some chromatin-associated non-histone proteins may be involved in the formation of peculiar heterochromatin structures intimately associated with NLBs and NPBs, the unique nuclear bodies of oocytes and early embryos. View Full-Text
Keywords: mammalian early development; heterochromatin configuration; karyosphere; oocytes; pre-implantation embryos mammalian early development; heterochromatin configuration; karyosphere; oocytes; pre-implantation embryos
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Bogolyubova, I.; Bogolyubov, D. Heterochromatin Morphodynamics in Late Oogenesis and Early Embryogenesis of Mammals. Cells 2020, 9, 1497.

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