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 journalArticle

384 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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  • Cite this

    Murchison, E. P., Stein, P., Xuan, Z., Pan, H., Zhang, M. Q., Schultz, R. M., & Hannon, G. J. (2007). Critical roles for Dicer in the female germline. Genes and Development, 21(6), 682-693.