After sperm-oocyte fusion, cortical granules (CGs) located in oocyte cortex undergo exocytosis and their content is released into the perivitelline space to avoid polyspermy. Thus, cortical granule exocytosis (CGE) is a key process for fertilization success. We have demonstrated that alpha-SNAP -and its functional partner NSF- mediate fusion of CGs with the plasma membrane in mouse oocytes. Here, we examined at cellular and ultrastructural level oocytes from hyh (hydrocephalus with hop gait) mice, which present a missense mutation in the Napa gene that results in the substitution of methionine for isoleucine at position 105 (M105I) of alpha-SNAP. Mutated alpha-SNAP was mislocalized in hyh oocytes while NSF expression increased during oocyte maturation. Staining of CGs showed that 9.8% of hyh oocytes had abnormal localization of CGs and oval shape. Functional tests showed that CGE was impaired in hyh oocytes. Interestingly, in vitro fertilization assays showed a decreased fertilization rate for hyh oocytes. Furthermore, fertilized hyh oocytes presented an increased polyspermy rate compared to wild type ones. At ultrastructural level, hyh oocytes showed small mitochondria and a striking accumulation and secretion of degradative structures. Our findings demonstrate the negative effects of alpha-SNAP M105 mutation on oocyte biology and further confirm the relevance of alpha-SNAP in female fertility.
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