The function of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) during porcine oocyte maturation was examined by injecting oocytes with either mRNA or antisense RNA of porcine c-mos protein, an upstream kinase of MAPK. The RNAs were injected into the cytoplasm of porcine immature oocytes immediately after collection from ovaries, then the oocytes were cultured for maturation up to 48 h. The phosphorylation and activation of MAPK were observed at 6 h after injection of the c-mos mRNA injected-oocytes, whereas in control oocytes, MAPK activation was detected at 24 h of culture. The germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) rate at 24 h of culture was significantly higher in c-mos mRNA-injected oocytes than in control oocytes. In contrast, although injection of c-mos antisense RNA completely inhibited phosphorylation and activation of MAPK throughout the maturation period, the GVBD rate and its time course were the same in noninjected oocytes. The degree of maturation-promoting factor (MPF) activation was, however, very low in oocytes in the absence of MAPK activation. Most of those oocytes had both abnormal morphology and decondensed chromosomes at 48 h of culture. These results suggest that MAPK activation is not required for GVBD induction in porcine oocytes and that the major roles of MAPK during porcine oocyte maturation are to promote GVBD by increasing MPF activity and to arrest oocytes at the second metaphase.
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