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Zygote. 2002 Nov;10(4):327-32.

Transcriptional activity associated with meiotic competence in fully grown mouse GV oocytes.

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Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8571, Japan.


The involvement of cumulus cells and chromatin organisation in transcriptional activity was investigated. In addition, the relationship between transcriptional activity and meiotic competence in fully grown mouse oocytes was surveyed. Transcriptional activity was detected in fully grown oocytes in which chromatin did not surround the nucleolus in the germinal vesicle (NSN-type oocytes), but not in oocytes in which chromatin surrounded the nucleolus (SN-type oocytes). Cumulus cells seemed to downregulate transcriptional activity in NSN-type oocytes, since transcriptional activity was 3 times greater in the denuded NSN-type oocytes free of cumulus cells (DO oocytes) than in NSN-type oocytes enclosed in cumulus cells (COC oocytes). Higher transcriptional activity corresponded to lower germinal vesicle breakdown (GVB) competence of fully grown oocytes in culture. Although GVB occurred in nearly all (99%) the SN-type oocytes, it occurred in 88% of COC/NSN-type oocytes (cumulus-oocyte complex with SN-type configuration) and in 61% of DO/NSN-type oocytes (denuded oocytes with NSN-type configuration). There was a negative correlation between transcriptional activity and the capacity of a cell to complete the progression to the second metaphase (MII). In GVB oocytes, the percentage of first polar body (PBI) extrusion differed among COC/NSN-type (81%), DO/SN-type (66%), COC/NSN-type (47%) and DO/NSN-type (29%) oocytes. After activation with 10 mM Sr2+, the frequency of parthenogenetic activation was greater in SN-type oocytes (46.9%) than in transcriptionally active NSN-type oocytes (27.5%). These results suggest that transcriptional activity has a detrimental effect on the competence of meiotic maturation and subsequent activation in fully grown GV oocytes. Alternatively, active transcription in the fully grown oocytes suggests that they are still in the process of synthesising substances required for meiotic maturation and are not yet competent for these processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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