Mitochondrial dysfunction caused by targeted deletion of Mfn1 does not result in telomere shortening in oocytes.

Cozzolino M, Seli E
Zygote. 2022 Jun 22:1-3. Online ahead of print. 2022 doi: 10.1017/S0967199422000089


Telomere shortening during oocyte growth and development is related to reproductive ageing and infertility. The main mechanism involved in the maintenance of telomeres is based on telomerase activity, a specialized enzyme complex, which is capable of adding TTAGGG repeats at the ends of the chromosomes. Mitochondrial dysfunction may cause progressive shortening of telomeres by promoting the generation of reactive oxygen species. Mitofusin-1 is a protein required for mitochondrial fusion. Mice with the mitofusin-1 (Mfn1) deletion in the oocyte are characterized by accelerated follicular depletion and infertility, associated with defective oocyte maturation and follicular development. We hypothesized whether mitochondrial dysfunction in oocytes with targeted deletion of Mfn1 causes telomere shortening. We analyzed telomere length in oocyte and somatic cells in 3-, 6- and 9-month-old Mfn1−/− and wild-type mice. Immunofluorescence in oocyte mice of TRF1 and H2A.X was assessed to evaluate the interplay between the end-protection functions and the response to DNA damage occurring inside the telomeric repeats. Mitochondrial dysfunction due to the deletion of Mfn1 does not seem to affect telomere length in mouse oocytes.