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cAMP plays a critical role in the control of oocyte maturation, as a high level of cAMP maintains oocyte arrest at the first meiotic prophase. Yet this study shows that pulsing meiotically arrested denuded oocytes (DO) with cAMP induces oocyte maturation through the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (PRKA). Short-term (3 h) pulsing of meiotically arrested oocytes with forskolin, an adenyl cyclase (AC) activator, increased oocyte cAMP, led to elevated AMP, and induced oocyte meiotic resumption compared to oocytes continuously cultured in the control medium with or without forskolin. Western analysis showed that germinal vesicle (GV)-stage oocytes after forskolin pulsing contained increased levels of phospho-acetyl CoA carboxylase (pACACA), a primary substrate of PRKA. Pulsing oocytes with the phosphodiesterase (PDE)-sensitive cAMP analog, 8-bromo-cAMP (8-Br-cAMP), also increased pACACA and pPRKA levels in GV-stage oocytes and induced oocyte meiotic resumption. Moreover, the PRKA inhibitors, compound C and araA, prevented 8-Br-cAMP pulsing-induced maturation. The lack of effect on meiotic induction and PRKA activation when oocytes were pulsed with the PDE-resistant activators of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, Sp-cAMP-AM and Sp-5,6-DCI-cBIMPS, suggests that cAMP degradation is required for pulsing-induced maturation. Pulsing oocytes with the exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac)-specific activator, 8-CPT-2′-O-Me-cAMP, had no stimulatory effect on oocyte maturation, suggesting Epac is not involved in the pulsing-induced maturation. Taken together, these data support the idea that a transient increase in oocyte cAMP can induce meiotic resumption via activation of PRKA.


Accepted version. Reproduction, Vol. 138, No. 5 (November 2009): 759-770. DOI. © BioScientifica 2009. Used with permission.

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