The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 853 - 858 (2012)

Vol 56, Issue 10-11-12

Special Issue: Female Germ Cells in Development & Tumors

OCT4 and the acquisition of oocyte developmental competence during folliculogenesis

Published: 6 February 2013

Maurizio Zuccotti*,1, Valeria Merico2, Martina Belli2, Francesca Mulas3, Lucia Sacchi4, Blaz Zupan3,5, Carlo Alberto Redi2, Alessandro Prigione6, James Adjaye6,7, Riccardo Bellazzi3,4 and Silvia Garagna*,2,3,8

1Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Biotecnologiche e Traslazionali, Universita' degli Studi di Parma, Italy, 2Laboratorio di Biologia dello Sviluppo, Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie 'Lazzaro Spallanzani', Universita` degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 3Centre for Tissue Engineering, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 4Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'Informazione, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 5Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 6Molecular Embryology and Aging Group, Department of Vertebrate Genomics, Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany, 7Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heiner University, Düsseldorf, Germany and 8Centro di Eccellenza in Biologia Applicata, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


The role that the transcription factor OCT4 plays during oocyte growth is yet unknown. In this review, we summarise the data on its potential role in the acquisition of oocyte developmental competence in the mouse. These studies describe the presence in MII oocytes and 2-cell embryos of an OCT4 transcriptional network that might be part of the molecular signature of maternal origin on which the inner cell mass and the embryonic stem cell-associated pluripotency is assembled and shaped. The Oct4-gene regulatory network thus provides a connection between eggs, early preimplantation embryos and embryonic stem cells.


OCT4, oocyte, developmental competence, preimplantation development, pluripotency

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