Editors' ChoiceDevelopmental Biology

Regulating Ovulation

Science Signaling  05 Feb 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 5, pp. ec48
DOI: 10.1126/stke.15ec48

In mammals, the ability of a female to remain fertile for an extended period depends on the continuous awakening of primordial follicles from their dormant state in the ovary. Menopause, or the natural end of female reproductive life, occurs when the pool of primordial follicles has been depleted. The mechanisms controlling follicular activation have remained a mystery. Reddy et al. now reveal that follicle activation is controlled by the oocyte PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10)-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway. In a mouse model where Pten is deleted specifically in oocytes, the entire pool of primordial follicles is prematurely activated and subsequently depleted in early adulthood, which results in premature ovarian failure.

P. Reddy, L. Liu, D. Adhikari, K. Jagarlamudi, S. Rajareddy, Y. Shen, C. Du, W. Tang, T. Hämäläinen, S. L. Peng, Z.-J. Lan, A. J. Cooney, I. Huhtaniemi, K. Liu, Oocyte-specific deletion of Pten causes premature activation of the primordial follicle pool. Science 319, 611-613 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]