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Understanding the Balbiani body: A super-organelle linked to dormancy in oocytes

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 DORMANTOOCYTE project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the DORMANTOOCYTE project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "DORMANTOOCYTE" about.

periods    machinery    regulation    forms    amyloid    reveal    led    mature    oocyte    remarkable    disappears    surprisingly    mammals    humans    techniques    employ    time    mechanisms    cage    vertebrate    ease    dormant    generally    mice    function    age    give    young    handling    shown    mitochondria    questions    avenues    compartment    membrane    human    nutrients    oocytes    dormancy    genetic    cells    matures    organelles    nature    complement    structure    little    imaging    fertilisation    balbiani    decades    structures    bound    release    protective    virtually    species    body    organisation    specialised    survive    organism    ageing    cell    physiology    combine    unanswered    insights    protect    biochemical    fundamental    germ    embryo    die    biology    complementary    genome    housekeeping    experiments    female    relationship    disassemble    perturbations    retain    continuity    vertebrates    stay    frogs    me    start    contains    metabolic    physiological    proteomics   

Project "DORMANTOOCYTE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 8003

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Spain [ES]
 Total cost 1˙381˙286 €
 EC max contribution 1˙381˙286 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-03-01   to  2023-02-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Female germ cells, oocytes, are highly specialised cells. They ensure the continuity of species by providing the female genome and mitochondria along with most of the nutrients and housekeeping machinery the early embryo needs after fertilisation. Oocytes are remarkable in their ability to survive for long periods of time, up to 50 years in humans, and retain the ability to give rise to a young organism while other cells age and die. Surprisingly little is known about oocyte dormancy. A key feature of dormant oocytes of virtually all vertebrates is the presence of a Balbiani body, which is a non-membrane bound compartment that contains most of the organelles in dormant oocytes and disappears as the oocyte matures.

The goal of this proposal is to combine genetic and biochemical perturbations with imaging and the state of the art proteomics techniques to reveal the mechanisms dormant oocytes employ to remain viable. My previous research has shown that the Balbiani body forms an amyloid-like cage around organelles that could be protective. This has led me to identify the large number of unanswered questions about the cell biology of a dormant oocyte. In this proposal, we will study three of these questions: 1) What is the metabolic nature of organelles in dormant oocytes? 2) How does the Balbiani body disassemble and release the complement of organelles when oocytes start to mature? 3) What is the structure and function of the Balbiani body in mammals? We will use oocytes from two vertebrate species, frogs and mice, which are complementary for their ease of handling and relationship to human physiology.

By studying the Balbiani body, this proposal will provide fundamental insights into organisation and function of organelles in oocytes and the regulation of physiological amyloid-like structures. More generally, the proposed experiments open up new avenues into the mechanisms that protect organelles from ageing and how oocytes stay dormant for many decades.

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The information about "DORMANTOOCYTE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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