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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.

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

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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