Pituitary gonadotropins (GTHs) are of primary importance in triggering oocyte growth and maturation. However, the actions of GTHs are not direct, but are mediated by the ovarian production of steroidal mediators of oocyte growth (estradiol-17β) and maturation (maturation-inducing hormone, MIH; 17α,20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one, 17α,20β-DP in salmonid fishes; 17α,20β,21-trihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one, 20β-S in sciaenid fishes). It is established that production of estradiol-17β and 17α,20β-DP by salmonid ovarian follicles occurs via the interaction of two cell layers, the thecal and granulosa cell layers (two-cell type model). A distinct shift in the salmonid steroidogenesis from estradiol-17β to 17α,20β-DP occurs in the ovarian follicle layer immediately prior to oocyte maturation. It is possible that this shift is a consequence of dramatic changes in the expression of the genes encoding various steroidogenic enzymes. As an initial step to address this question, we have isolated and characterized the cDNAs encoding a number of ovarian steroidogenic enzymes including the rainbow trout cholesterol side-chain cleavage cytochrome P-450, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD), 17α-hydroxylase/17,20 lyase cytochrome P-450, aromatase cytochrome P-450 cDNAS as well as the pig 20β-HSD cDNA. Estradiol-17β stimulates the hepatic synthesis and secretion of a yolk precursor, vitellogenin. Vitellogenin is then transported to the ovary where it is selectively taken up into the oocyte by a receptor-mediated process involving specific cell-surface receptors. Estradiol-17β was also shown to induce the synthesis of egg membrane proteins in the liver. The maturation-inducing action of 17α,20β-DP and 20β-S is through the binding to the oocyte plasma membrane. This initial MIH-surface interaction is followed by the formation of the major mediator of MIH, maturation-promoting factor (MPF). We have purified MPF from mature oocytes of carp. Carp MPF consists of two components: the homolog of the cdc2+ gene product of fission yeast (p34cdc2) and cyclin B. The cdc2 kinase protein is present in immature oocytes as well as in oocytes induced to mature by 17α,20β-DP treatment, while cyclin B proteins can be detected only in mature oocytes. Addition of bacterially expressed goldfish cyclin B to the extracts of immature goldfish oocytes induced MPF activation. These results suggest that the appearance of cyclin B protein is a crucial step for 17α,20β-DP-induced oocyte maturation in fish.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science