Critical roles for Dicer in the female germline

Elizabeth P. Murchison, Paula Stein, Zhenyu Xuan, Hua Pan, Michael Q. Zhang, Richard M. Schultz, Gregory J. Hannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

427 Scopus citations


Dicer is an essential component of RNA interference (RNAi) pathways, which have broad functions in gene regulation and genome organization. Probing the consequences of tissue-restricted Dicer loss in mice indicates a critical role for Dicer during meiosis in the female germline. Mouse oocytes lacking Dicer arrest in meiosis I with multiple disorganized spindles and severe chromosome congression defects. Oogenesis and early development are times of significant post-transcriptional regulation, with controlled mRNA storage, translation, and degradation. Our results suggest that Dicer is essential for turnover of a substantial subset of maternal transcripts that are normally lost during oocyte maturation. Furthermore, we find evidence that transposon-derived sequence elements may contribute to the metabolism of maternal transcripts through a Dicer-dependent pathway. Our studies identify Dicer as central to a regulatory network that controls oocyte gene expression programs and that promotes genomic integrity in a cell type notoriously susceptible to aneuploidy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-693
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Dicer
  • Meiosis
  • Oocyte
  • RNAi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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