Cumulus cells (CCs) have an important role during oocyte growth, competence acquisition, maturation, ovulation and fertilization. In an attempt to isolate potential biomarkers for bovine in vitro fertilization, we identified genes differentially expressed in bovine CCs from oocytes with different competence statuses, through microarray analysis. The model of follicle size, in which competent cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) were recovered from bigger follicles (≥8.0 mm in diameter) and less competent ones from smaller follicles (1–3 mm), was used. We identified 4178 genes that were differentially expressed (P < 0.05) in the two categories of CCs. The list was further enriched, through the use of a 2.5-fold change in gene expression as a cutoff value, to include 143 up-regulated and 80 down-regulated genes in CCs of competent COCs compared to incompetent COCs. These genes were screened according to their cellular roles, most of which were related to cell cycle, DNA repair, energy metabolism, metabolism of amino acids, cell signaling, meiosis, ovulation and inflammation. Three candidate genes up-regulated (FGF11, IGFBP4, SPRY1) and three down-regulated (ARHGAP22, COL18A1 and GPC4) in CCs from COCs of big follicles (≥8.1 mm) were selected for qPCR analysis. The selected genes showed the same expression patterns by qPCR and microarray analysis. These genes may be potential genetic markers that predict oocyte competence in in vitro fertilization routines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- gene expression
- oocyte quality