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Sci Rep. 2012;2:468. doi: 10.1038/srep00468. Epub 2012 Jun 25.

Defective folliculogenesis in female mice lacking Vaccinia-related kinase 1.

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  • 1X-ray Imaging Center, Pohang University of Science and Technology-POSTECH, Pohang 70-784, South Korea.


The Vaccinia-related kinase 1(VRK1), which is generally implicated in modulating cell cycle, plays important roles in mammalian gametogenesis. Female infertility in VRK1-deficient mice was reported to be caused by defective meiotic progression in oocyte at postovulatory stage. VRK1 roles in folliculogenesis, however, remain largely unknown. Here, accurate quantification of folliculogenesis is performed by a direct visualization of 'intact' ovary in 3-dimensions (3-D) using a synchrotron X-ray microtomography. In VRK1-deficient ovaries, the numbers of pre-antral and antral follicles are significantly reduced by 38% and 46%, respectively, comparing to control. The oocytes volumes in antral and Graffian follicles also decrease by 42% and 37% in the mutants, respectively, indicating defects in oocyte quality at preovulatory stage. Genetic analysis shows that gene expressions related to folliculogenesis are down-regulated in VRK1-deficient ovaries, implying defects in folliculogenesis. We suggest that VRK1 is required for both follicle development and oocyte growth in mammalian female reproduction system.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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