We have measured the levels of cyclin mRNAs and polypeptides during oogenesis, progesterone-induced oocyte maturation, and immediately after egg activation in the frog, Xenopus laevis. The mRNA for each cyclin is present at a constant level of approximately 5 x 10(7) molecules per oocyte from the earliest stages of oogenesis until after fertilization. The levels of polypeptides show more complex patterns of accumulation. The B-type cyclins are first detectable in stage IV and V oocytes. Cyclin B2 polypeptide is present at approximately 2 x 10(9) molecules (150 pg) per oocyte by stage VI. The amount increases after progesterone treatment, but returns to its previous level after GVBD and undergoes no further change until it is destroyed at fertilization. Cyclin B1 is present at 4 x 10(8) molecules per oocyte in stage VI oocytes, and rises steadily during maturation, ultimately reaching similar levels to cyclin B2 in unfertilized eggs. Unlike the B-type cyclins, cyclin A is barely detectable in stage VI oocytes, and only starts to be made in significant amounts after oocytes are exposed to progesterone. A portion of all the cyclins are destroyed after germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD), and cyclins B1 and B2 also experience posttranslational modifications during oocyte maturation. Progesterone strongly stimulates both cyclin and p34cdc2 synthesis in these oocytes, but whereas cyclin synthesis continues in eggs and after fertilization, synthesis of p34cdc2 declines strongly after GVBD. The significance of these results is discussed in terms of the activation and inactivation of maturation-promoting factor.

This content is only available as a PDF.