2018-08-21T08:00:22+08:002018-08-21|News and events, Seminars and Workshops, Uncategorized|
Talk title The molecular mechanisms behind female germ cell development and their implications for treating female infertility
Speaker Prof. Kui LIU
Scientific Director for Research and Development,
Omnio Inc. Umeå, Sweden
Adjunct professor, Shandong University, China
Date & Time 20 August 2018 (Monday) 14:30-15:30
Venue Room G003, E12 Building (University of Macau)
Abstract About 10–15% of couples of reproductive age are infertile, a large portion of which are due to female infertility. To better understand the causes of female infertility and to develop new treatments, we study the molecular mechanisms of female germ cell development. The development of female germ cells is a complex process involving cell migration, cell proliferation, meiosis, meiosis arrest, meiosis resumption, etc. My work over the past 15 years has been largely focused on the activation of primordial follicles and related physiological and pathological events.

In female mammals, the initial pool of primordial follicles serves as the source of developing follicles and oocytes for the entire reproductive lifespan of the animal. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the activation of primordial follicles have been studied primarily using the numerous genetically modified mouse models developed in my lab. Several pathways operating in both the somatic primordial-follicle granulosa cells (pfGCs) and the oocytes, such as the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) and the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathways, have been shown to be important for primordial follicle activation. More importantly, studies from my group have provided an updated view of how signaling pathways in pfGCs and in oocytes, such as KIT and the KIT ligand (KL), are systematically coordinated in adult ovaries so that the activation of primordial follicles is achieved. The in-depth understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of primordial follicle activation will hopefully lead to improved treatments of female infertility, and recent progress in the field suggests that the use of existing primordial follicles as a source for obtaining fertilizable oocytes as a new treatment for female infertility, such as for women with premature ovarian failure (POF, or POI), is just around the corner. To date, 17 babies have been born to women with POF by targeting the PI3K pathway in primordial follicles. Further studies are necessary to identify other mechanisms that control primordial follicle activation and to translate these findings into treatments for female infertility.