Oocyte Control of Ovarian Follicular Development

Lecture Type: Grandrounds

Oocyte Control of Ovarian Follicular Development

Dr. John Eppig is a Professor at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. His research focus is on the development and function of the mammalian oocyte-granulosa cell complex. He achieved the first complete development of mammalian oocytes in vitro. In 2011, Dr. Eppig was elected as a member to the National Academy of Science.

Invited Speakers

  • John Eppig, PhD


Precise coordination between mammalian precursor egg cell (oocyte) and ovarian follicle development is essential in order to provide an egg that is fully competent to undergo fertilization and embryo development. A system of metabolic cooperation exists, in which oocytes promote the expression of genes in cumulus cells for processes that oocytes cannot carry out efficiently themselves, such as amino acid transport and glucose oxidation. In other words, the oocyte out-sources these processes to the cumulus cells. In turn, the cumulus cells pass the essential products of these processes to the oocyte for use in development. The same system allows the oocytes to regulate the metabolic pathways in the follicle cells to control the rate of follicular development. Oocytes provide the cumulus cells with signals that enable the cumulus cells to respond to preovulatory hormonal stimulus by both undergoing processes essential for ovulation and sending a return signal to the oocyte triggering the resumption of meiosis. The lecture will cover these remarkable mechanisms that coordinate the maturation of both the oocyte and cumulus cells, culminating in the ovulation of an egg ready for fertilization.


  • Explain the relationship between oocytes and companion somatic cells
  • Describe the mechanisms in which oocytes rely on cumulus cells for essential products for development
  • List important steps of interplay between oocytes and somatic cells during oocyte development

VIDEO: Oocyte Control of Ovarian Follicular Development

Recorded on: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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