During the growth phase of the bovine oocyte transcripts, polypeptides and ribosomes are accumulated in the oocyte to drive and sustain future meiotic maturation, fertilization, and early embryonic development. The oocyte also furnishes the early embryo with the components required to establish a functional transcriptionally active nucleolus at the time of maternal embryonic transition. The aim of the present study was to describe the behavior of key components of the nucleolus. The temporal localization of nucleolar proteins fibrillarin, nucleophosmin, nucleolin, RNA polymerase I (RNA pol I), topoisomerase I, upstream binding factor (UBF), and coilin 5P10 was investigated in growing and fully grown immature bovine oocytes during in vitro maturation and during the first postfertilization cell cycle using whole-mount immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy. During the oocyte growth phase, fibrillarin, nucleophosmin, nucleolin, RNA pol I, and UBF were localized to the oocyte nucleolus. On completion of the growth phase, nucleolin and nucleophosmin appeared to migrate to the periphery of the nucleolus and into the nucleoplasm, and the proportion of oocytes displaying RNA pol I localization had decreased. Topoisomerase I was not detected at any stage. Fibrillarin appeared to be localized to large foci within the nucleolus and/or nucleoplasm. Nucleophosmin and nucleolin labeling was characterized by a homogenous signal over the nucleolus. RNA pol I and UBF were characterized by the localization of the antibodies to individual or clustered foci in the nucleolus and/or nucleoplasm. Following oocyte nucleus breakdown (ONBD), the proteins appeared to disperse into the cytoplasm. All proteins were undetectable during meiotic maturation and were not relocalized until 5–10 h postinsemination (hpi). UBF was localized to the fertilizing sperm head of most zygotes at 5 hpi. By 10 hpi, all proteins were detected in most oocytes displaying two pronuclei. Nucleolar protein localization was exclusive to or more abundant in one pronucleus up to 20 hpi; thereafter, the pattern was more evenly distributed. Fibrillarin, nucleophosmin, nucleolin, UBF, and Pol I are present in the nuclei of growing and fully grown bovine oocytes until ONBD. They reappear at the late telophase stage of meiosis II and continue to be present up to the first mitotic division of embryo development.
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