The process of oogenesis culminates in steroid-induced oocyte maturation to produce the fertilizable egg. A quintessential biological entity, the egg is central to the production of new individuals. The result of egg fertilization by a sperm cell is the production of the mother of all stem cells (i.e. the zygote). Furthermore, the egg cytoplasm is the only one known to support reprogramming a transplanted nucleus to give rise to an individual (i.e. animal cloning). Zebrafish oocyte maturation is a complex event encompassing a number of cellular changes including germinal vesicle migration (GVM) and dissolution or breakdown (GVD), ooplasmic clearing (OC) with correlated yolk protein changes (YP), development of osmoregulation (OR) in fresh water, the formation of the future embryonic pole, the blastodisc (BF) and activatibility (AC) or cortical maturation. In zebrafish, and many other teleosts, 17α, 20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17α, 20β-DP) has been shown to be the normal inducer of oocyte maturation. A 17α, 20β-DP membrane-resident receptor mediates oocyte maturation via non-genomic mechanisms that are beginning to be understood. This paper will highlight some of the cellular markers resulting from the signaling initiated by 17α, 20β-DP. By describing these markers, it is hoped that workers in the field will have additional tools to help further elucidate the signaling events of oocyte maturation. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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