Amphibian oocytes, arrested in prophase I, are stimulated to progress to metaphase II by progesterone. This process is referred to as meiotic maturation and transforms the oocyte, which cannot support the early events of embryogenesis, into the egg, which can. Meiotic maturation entails global reorganization of cell ultrastructure: In the cell cortex, the plasma membrane flattens and the cortical granules undergo redistribution. In the cell periphery, the annulate lamellae disassemble and the mitochondria become dispersed. In the cell interior, the germinal vesicle becomes disassembled and the meiotic spindles form. Marked changes in the cytoskeleton and mRNA distribution also occur throughout the cell. All of these events are temporally correlated with intracellular signalling events: Fluctuations in cAMP levels, changes in pH, phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, and ion flux changes. Evidence suggests that specific intracellular signals are responsible for specific reorganizations of ultrastructure and mRNA distribution. Copyright1990 WileyLiss, Inc.
- Intracellular signals
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