TAF4b is a gonadal-enriched subunit of the general transcription factor TFIID that is implicated in promoting healthy ovarian aging and female fertility in mice and humans. To further explore the potential mechanism of TAF4b in promoting ovarian follicle development, we analyzed global gene expression at multiple time points in the human fetal ovary. This computational analysis revealed coordinate expression of human TAF4B and critical regulators and effectors of meiosis I including SYCP3, YBX2, STAG3, and DAZL. To address the functional relevance of this analysis, we turned to the embryonic Taf4b-deficient mouse ovary where, for the first time, we demonstrate, severe deficits in prophase I progression as well as asynapsis in Taf4b-deficient oocytes. Accordingly, TAF4b occupies the proximal promoters of many essential meiosis and oogenesis regulators, including Stra8, Dazl, Figla, and Nobox, and is required for their proper expression. These data reveal a novel TAF4b function in regulating a meiotic gene expression program in early mouse oogenesis, and support the existence of a highly conserved TAF4b-dependent gene regulatory network promoting early oocyte development in both mice and women.
Grive, K. J., Gustafson, E. A., Seymour, K. A., Baddoo, M., Schorl, C., Golnoski, K., … Freiman, R. N. (2016). TAF4b Regulates Oocyte-Specific Genes Essential for Meiosis. PLoS Genetics, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006128