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Dev Biol. 1984 Aug;104(2):357-65.

The role of the germinal vesicle in producing maturation-promoting factor (MPF) as revealed by the removal and transplantation of nuclear material in starfish oocytes.


In starfish, oocytes are released from prophase block by a hormone, which has been identified as 1-methyladenine. The action of 1-methyladenine is indirect in inducing oocyte maturation: it acts on the oocyte surface to produce a cytoplasmic maturation-promoting factor (MPF), the direct trigger of germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD). Less than 5 min after hormone addition, thus about 10 min before appearance of the cytoplasmic maturation-promoting factor, a factor appears in the germinal vesicle, which triggers the production of cytoplasmic MPF, GVBD, and the subsequent events of meiotic maturation when transferred in the cytoplasm of any fully grown oocyte of the starfishes Marthasterias glacialis and Asterias rubens. Before hormone action, the germinal vesicle also contains a factor capable of inducing meiosis reinitiation in recipient oocytes, but in contrast with nuclear MPF, this factor acts exclusively when transferred in the cytoplasm of a special category of oocytes (the "competent" oocytes). In contrast to other oocytes (the "incompetent" oocytes) the competent oocytes are capable of producing MPF to some extent after enucleation, upon hormonal stimulation. Transfer of either nuclear or cytoplasmic MPF initially produced in hormone-treated maturing oocytes triggers the production of both cytoplasmic and nuclear MPF in non-hormone-treated recipient oocytes of both categories.

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