Faithful transfer of genetic material is critical for the success of all cell divisions. Yet as the organism ages this process becomes more error-prone, leading to aneuploidic daughter cells due to mis-segregation of chromosomes. This can lead to cancer in mitotic cells and in the female germline it leads to reduced fertility and an exponential increase in miscarriages and birth defects already at the third decade of life. In humans, all the oocytes begin their development in-utero but arrest for decades in the middle of this process, leading to the rapid increase in meiotic divisions failure. The oocytes arrest while undergoing dramatic structural changes, termed chromosome remodeling. Very little is known about what drives this critical phase in germline development, yet it is assumed to involve chromatin modifiers and DNA binding complexes. We suggested to identify chromatin-modifying complexes that control oogenesis progression and find their mechanism of operation. The research was aimed to find the major players in this processes and their mode of operation. Given that maternal age is rising in the western world, translational implementation of this research would have a dramatic impact on our scientific understanding of fertility.
The conclusions of the work provided insights on the major part of the MAPK biochemical pathway plays in the chromosomal separation which are at the core of oogenesis, and novel master regulators that work through this pathway.