The nature, intracellular distribution, and role of proteins synthesized during meiotic maturation of mouse oocytes in vitro have been examined. Proteins synthesized during the initial stages of maturation are concentrated within the nucleus (germinal vesicle) and become intimately associated with the condensing chromosomes. Inhibition of protein synthesis during this period does not prevent germinal vesicle dissolution or chromosome condensation, but meiotic progression is blocked reversibly at the circular bivalent stage. A protein is synthesized during meiotic maturation of the mouse oocyte which exhibits several of the characteristics of the very lysine-rich histone, FI; this and other histones are phosphorylated during the initial stages of maturation. These results are discussed in relation to studies of meiotic maturation of oocytes from non-mammalian species and chromosome condensation in both oocytes and mitotic cells.

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