Messenger RNA is remarkably stable during oocyte growth, thus enabling mRNAs to accumulate during the growth phase and thereby provide mRNAs that support early embryonic development. MSY2, a germ cell-specific RNA-binding protein, is implicated in regulating mRNA stability. MSY2 is essential for development because female Msy2−/− mice are infertile. We describe here the characterization of Msy2−/− oocytes. Mutant oocytes grow more slowly during the first wave of folliculogenesis, and maturation to and arrest at metaphase II is severely compromised because of aberrant spindle formation and chromosome congression. Consistent with MSY2 conferring mRNA stability is that the amount of poly(A)-containing RNA is reduced by ∼25% in mutant oocytes. Stability of an exogenous mRNA injected into mutant oocytes is lower than when compared to their wild-type counterparts, and moreover, expression of wild-type MSY2 in mutant oocytes increases mRNA stability, whereas injection of a mutant form of MSY2 not capable of binding RNA does not. Transcription quiescence that normally occurs during the course of oocyte growth is not observed in mutant oocytes, and the transcriptome of mutant oocytes is markedly perturbed. These results, and those of previous studies, strongly implicate a central role of MSY2 in regulating mRNA stability.
Msy2−/− oocytes exhibit numerous phenotypes including defects in oocyte growth and maturation, RNA stability, and gene expression.