The subcortical maternal complex: emerging roles and novel perspectives
Daniela Bebbere, David F Albertini, Giovanni Coticchio, Andrea Borini, Sergio Ledda
Molecular Human Reproduction, Volume 27, Issue 7, July 2021, gaab043, https://doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gaab043 Published: 30 June 2021
Since its recent discovery, the subcortical maternal complex (SCMC) is emerging as a maternally inherited and crucial biological structure for the initial stages of embryogenesis in mammals. Uniquely expressed in oocytes and preimplantation embryos, where it localizes to the cell subcortex, this multiprotein complex is essential for early embryo development in the mouse and is functionally conserved across mammalian species, including humans. The complex has been linked to key processes leading the transition from oocyte to embryo, including meiotic spindle formation and positioning, regulation of translation, organelle redistribution, and epigenetic reprogramming. Yet, the underlying molecular mechanisms for these diverse functions are just beginning to be understood, hindered by unresolved interplay of SCMC components and variations in early lethal phenotypes. Here we review recent advances confirming involvement of the SCMC in human infertility, revealing an unexpected relationship with offspring health. Moreover, SCMC organization is being further revealed in terms of novel components and interactions with additional cell constituents. Collectively, this evidence prompts new avenues of investigation into possible roles during the process of oogenesis and the regulation of maternal transcript turnover during the oocyte to embryo transition.