During the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), mRNAs and proteins stored in oocytes are degraded and zygotic genes are activated. We have previously shown that the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS)mediated degradation of maternal proteins plays a role in the onset of zygotic transcription. However, it is still unclear which maternal proteins should be degraded for zygotic genome activation and ensuring subsequent embryonic development. In this study, we screen for these maternal factors that are degraded via the UPS. We thus identified a maternal protein PIASy (protein inhibitor of activated STATy), which is an E3 SUMO ligase. The overexpression of PIASy in fertilized embryos causes developmental arrest at the two-cell stage due to severe abnormal chromosome segregation and impaired zygotic transcription. We find that this developmental role of PIASy is related to its SUMOylation activity. Moreover, PIASy overexpression leads to increased trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3) in two-cell nuclei and enhanced translocation of H3K9me3 methyltransferase to the pronucleus. Hence, PIASy is a maternal factor that is degraded after fertilization and may be important for the proper induction of zygotic genome activation and embryonic development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)