We previously demonstrated that an Sp1-dependent reporter gene is preferentially expressed in G2 of the 1-cell mouse embryo following microinjection of the male pronucleus when compared to microinjection of the female pronucleus (P.T. Ram and R.M. Schultz, 1993, Dev. Biol. 156, 552–556). We also noted that expression of the reporter gene is not observed following microinjection of the germinal vesicle of the fully grown oocyte. In the present study, we examined expression of this reporter gene during oocyte growth, as well as the nuclear concentration of two transcription factors, Sp1 and the TATA box-binding protein, TBP, during oocyte growth and the first cell cycle. The extent of reporter gene expression decreases during oocyte growth and this decrease correlates with the decrease in nuclear concentration of Sp1, as determined by confocal immunofluorescent microscopy. In addition, results of immunoblotting experiments also indicate a similar decrease in the total concentration of Sp1 during oocyte growth. The nuclear concentration of TBP also decreases during oocyte growth, as determined by confocal immunofluorescent microscopy. Following fertilization, the pronuclear concentration of these two transcription factors increases in a time-dependent fashion and the concentration of each is greater in the male pronucleus as compared to the female pronucleus. For each pronucleus and for each transcription factor, this increase in nuclear concentration is inhibited by aphidicolin, which inhibits DNA synthesis. Last, the increase in nuclear concentration of these two proteins observed between the 1-cell and 2-cell stages does not require transcription or cytokinesis.

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