Solubility phase transition of maternal RNAs during vertebrate oocyte-to-embryo transition

Hyojeong Hwang, Sijie Chen, Meng Ma, Divyanshi, Hao Chun Fan, Elizabeth Borwick, Elvan Böke, Wenyan Mei, Jing Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The oocyte-to-embryo transition (OET) is regulated by maternal products stored in the oocyte cytoplasm, independent of transcription. How maternal products are precisely remodeled to dictate the OET remains largely unclear. In this work, we discover the dynamic solubility phase transition of maternal RNAs during Xenopus OET. We have identified 863 maternal transcripts that transition from a soluble state to a detergent-insoluble one after oocyte maturation. These RNAs are enriched in the animal hemisphere, and many of them encode key cell cycle regulators. In contrast, 165 transcripts, including nearly all Xenopus germline RNAs and some vegetally localized somatic RNAs, undergo an insoluble-to-soluble phase transition. This phenomenon is conserved in zebrafish. Our results demonstrate that the phase transition of germline RNAs influences their susceptibility to RNA degradation machinery and is mediated by the remodeling of germ plasm. This work thus identifies important remodeling mechanisms that act on RNAs to control vertebrate OET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2776-2788.e5
JournalDevelopmental cell
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 4 2023


  • Bucky ball
  • RNA phase transition
  • Xenopus
  • Xvelo1
  • germ plasm
  • oocyte-to-embryo transition
  • zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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