Maternal exome analysis for the diagnosis of oocyte maturation defects and early embryonic developmental arrest

Antonio Capalbo, Silvia Buonaiuto, Matteo Figliuzzi, Gianluca Damaggio, Laura Girardi, Silvia Caroselli, Maurizio Poli, Cristina Patassini, Murat Cetinkaya, Beril Yuksel, Ajuna Azad, Marie Louise Grøndahl, Eva R Hoffmann, Carlos Simón, Vincenza Colonna, Semra Kahraman

5 Citations (Scopus)


RESEARCH QUESTION: Can a methodology be developed for case selection and whole-exome sequencing (WES) analysis of women who are infertile owing to recurrent oocyte maturation defects (OOMD) and/or preimplantation embryo lethality (PREMBL)?

DESIGN: Data were collected from IVF patients attending the Istanbul Memorial Hospital (2015-2021). A statistical methodology to identify infertile endophenotypes (recurrent low oocyte maturation rate, low fertilization rate and preimplantation developmental arrest) was developed using a large IVF dataset (11,221 couples). Twenty-eight infertile women with OOMD/PREMBL were subsequently enrolled for WES on their genomic DNA. Pathogenic variants were prioritized using a custom-made bioinformatic pipeline set to minimize false-positive discoveries through resampling in control cohorts (the Human Genome Diversity Project and 1343 whole-exome sequences from oocyte donors). Individual single-cell RNA sequencing data from 18 human metaphase II (MII) oocytes and antral granulosa cells was used for genome-wide validation. WES and bioinformatics were performed at Igenomix and the National Research Council, Italy.

RESULTS: Variant prioritization analysis identified 265 unique variants in 248 genes (average 22.4 per sample). Of the genes harbouring high-impact variants 78% were expressed by MII oocytes and/or antral granulosa cells, significantly higher than for random sample of controls (odds ratio = 5, Fisher's exact P = 0.0004). Seven of the 28 women (25%) were homozygous carriers of missense pathogenic variants in known candidate genes for OOMD/PREMBL, including PATL2, NLRP5 (n = 2),TLE6, PADI6, TUBB8 and TRIP13. Furthermore, novel gene-disease associations were identified. In fact, one woman with a low oocyte maturation rate was a homozygous carrier of high-impact variants in ENSA, an essential gene for prophase I meiotic transition in mice.

CONCLUSIONS: This analytical framework could reveal known and new genes associated with isolated recurrent OOMD/PREMBL, providing essential indications for scaling this strategy to larger studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)508-518
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • ATPases Associated with Diverse Cellular Activities
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins/genetics
  • Exome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female/genetics
  • Mice
  • Oocytes/pathology
  • Oogenesis
  • Tubulin/genetics
  • Whole Exome Sequencing


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