Nuclear Wave1 Is Required for Reprogramming Transcription in Oocytes and for Normal Development

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Science  30 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6149, pp. 1002-1005
DOI: 10.1126/science.1240376

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Eggs not only activate sperm nuclei for normal development but also reprogram transplanted somatic nuclei. In addition to its well-established cytoplasmic role in actin organization, Miyamoto et al. (p. 1002) discovered that the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein family member 1 in oocytes cooperates with transcriptional machineries in the nucleus to activate previously silenced genes.


Eggs and oocytes have a remarkable ability to induce transcription of sperm after normal fertilization and in somatic nuclei after somatic cell nuclear transfer. This ability of eggs and oocytes is essential for normal development. Nuclear actin and actin-binding proteins have been shown to contribute to transcription, although their mode of action is elusive. Here, we find that Xenopus Wave1, previously characterized as a protein involved in actin cytoskeleton organization, is present in the oocyte nucleus and is required for efficient transcriptional reprogramming. Moreover, Wave1 knockdown in embryos results in abnormal development and defective hox gene activation. Nuclear Wave1 binds by its WHD domain to active transcription components, and this binding contributes to the action of RNA polymerase II. We identify Wave1 as a maternal reprogramming factor that also has a necessary role in gene activation in development.

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