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Dev Biol. 1991 Jan;143(1):162-72.

Meiotic competence acquisition is associated with the appearance of M-phase characteristics in growing mouse oocytes.

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Tufts University Health Science Schools, Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111.

Erratum in

  • Dev Biol 1991 Mar;144(1):220.


To determine whether the acquisition of meiotic competence during the growth phase of oogenesis is associated with the appearance of M-phase characteristics, oocytes obtained from 13- to 30-day-old mice were evaluated by fluorescence microscopy with respect to chromatin and microtubule organization , in vitro maturation ability, and the distribution of M-phase phosphoproteins. Meiotically incompetent oocytes were distinguished from their competent counterparts in displaying elaborate interphase-like arrays of cytoplasmic microtubules and dispersed germinal vesicle chromatin. Meiotically competent oocytes were larger in size, exhibited condensation of chromatin around the nucleolus, and displayed a progressive diminution of cytoplasmic microtubules in conjunction with the appearance of multiple microtubule organizing centers. After 24 hr in culture, medium- to large-sized oocytes exhibiting perinucleolar chromatin condensation resume meiosis whereas smaller meiotically incompetent oocytes retain GVs with diffuse chromatin. Moreover, indirect immunofluorescence studies using the M-phase phosphoprotein specific monoclonal antibody MPM-2 indicate that the appearance of reactive cytoplasmic foci is directly correlated with nuclear changes characteristic of meiotically competent oocytes. Thus, the earliest transition to a meiotically competent state during oocyte growth in the immature mouse ovary is characterized by stage-specific and coordinated modifications of nuclear and cytoplasmic components.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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