Progesterone induces fully grown, stage VI, Xenopus oocytes to pass through meiosis I and arrest in metaphase of meiosis II. Protein synthesis is required twice in this process: in order to activate maturation promoting factor (MPF) which induces meiosis I, and then again after the completion of meiosis I to reactivate MPF in order to induce meiosis II. We have used antisense oligonucleotides to destroy maternal stores of cyclin mRNAs, and demonstrate that new cyclin synthesis is not required for entry into either meiosis I or II. This finding is consistent with the demonstration that stage VI oocytes contain a store of B-type cyclin polypeptides (Kobayashi, H., J. Minshull, C. Ford, R. Golsteyn, R. Poon, and T. Hunt. 1991. J. Cell Biol. 114:755-765). Although approximately 70% of cyclin B2 is destroyed at first meiosis, the surviving fraction, together with a larger pool of surviving cyclin B1, must be sufficient to allow the reactivation of MPF and induce entry into second meiotic metaphase. Since stage VI oocytes do not contain any cyclin A, our results show that cyclin A is not required for meiosis in Xenopus. We discuss the possible nature of the proteins whose synthesis is required to induce meiosis I and II.

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