Various molecular interactions not operating in other cell types are most likely required for mammalian oocytes to develop into fully competent eggs. This study seeks to initiate analyses of the potential oocyte-specific functions of regulators of G1/S progression—CDK4, CDK6, D-type cyclins, and p27—by first determining their expression patterns in growing and maturing mouse oocytes and in mouse embryos early after fertilization. Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses on isolated oocytes were employed to evaluate both their levels and their localization. The data show that 1) mouse oocytes contain significant amounts of all studied regulators; 2) their amounts and localization undergo dramatic changes as the oocytes grow, meiotically mature, and transit into embryogenesis; and 3) some regulators (CDK4, CDK6, cyclin D2, and p27) appear in unusual, most likely posttranslationally modified, forms. These data distinguish G1/S regulators as the potential players in molecular processes that are important for oocytes to function normally.
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