Princeton Researchers Identify Mechanism to Extend Egg Viability (image) Princeton University Share Print E-Mail Caption Princeton University researchers led by Coleen Murphy have identified a key protein in old, poor-quality C. elegans oocytes (unfertilized eggs): cathepsin B. When they administered a cathepsin B inhibitor midway through the fertile window -- on day 3 of the worms' adulthood, the equivalent of a woman in her early 30s -- they successfully extended egg viability beyond the normal span. Here, the image at the left shows a worm at the beginning of its reproductive window (day 1 of adulthood) with healthy, squarish unfertilized eggs. Worms who did not receive the treatment (upper right) have abnormally small, misshapen eggs by day 7 of adulthood. Worms who did receive the inhibitor (lower right) still have healthy, squarish eggs on day 7. Credit Courtesy of the researchers/Princeton University Usage Restrictions Editorial use only Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.