The oocyte is the sole source of the female genetic material that will be fertilized by sperm to form an embryo. Many extrinsic and intrinsic factors are critical for oocyte development and survival; however, these mediators are incompletely understood. In this issue of the JCI, Weinberg-Shukron et al. uncover a novel recessive missense mutation in the gene encoding nucleoporin-107 (NUP107) that results in abnormal ovarian development. Recapitulation of the human mutation in the Drosophila NUP107 ortholog resulted in poor follicular development and demonstrated an evolutionarily conserved and ovary-specific role of NUP107. While NUP107 is required for nuclear pore complex function in somatic cells of flies and women, this specific amino acid change appears only to be disruptive in the ovary. All together, these findings imply that missense mutations in other genes could be specifically disruptive of ovarian or testicular function, while leaving extragonadal function intact.
Haifan Lin, Martin M. Matzuk
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