Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Coordination of nuclear and cytoplasmic oocyte maturation in eutherian mammals

JJ Eppig

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 8(4) 485 - 489
Published: 1996


As oocytes near the end of their growth phase, they become competent to undergo two aspects of maturation, cytoplasmic and nuclear. Both are essential for the formation of an egg having the capacity for fertilization and development to live offspring. Nuclear maturation encompasses the processes reversing meiotic arrest at prophase I and driving the progression of meiosis to metaphase II. Cytoplasmic maturation refers to the processes that prepare the egg for activation and preimplantation development. This review focuses on the developmental programmes whereby oocytes at the germinal vesicle (GV) stage acquire competence to undergo nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation, the coordination of programmes regulating the acquisition of these competencies in GV-stage oocytes, and the coordination of the maturational processes themselves. Although the developmental programme of the GV-stage oocyte for acquiring competence to complete preimplantation development does not appear to be tightly linked to the acquisition of competence to complete nuclear maturation, GV breakdown (GVB) is probably essential for activating some critical aspects of cytoplasmic maturation, particularly those related to fertilization and activation. Nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation are normally coordinated by this mechanism requiring the mixing of the GV contents with the cytoplasm at the time of GVB, but some processes of cytoplasmic maturation related to successful preimplantation development probably still occur without coordination with nuclear maturation. Thus, continued differentiation of GV-stage oocytes is necessary after the acquisition of competence to undergo nuclear maturation, to allow for the deposition of the maternal factors required for the development of preimplantation embryos beyond the 2-cell stage.

© CSIRO 1996

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