Regulatory contribution of heterotrimeric G-proteins to oocyte maturation in the sea urchin

Ekaterina Voronina, Gary M. Wessel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Regulation of animal oocyte maturation is hypothesized to involve heterotrimeric G-proteins. It is difficult to test this hypothesis though without knowing what G-proteins are present in these cells and where are they localized. We set out to test the hypothesis that G-proteins regulate maturation in the sea urchin oocyte by identifying resident G-proteins in oocytes and eggs, and then investigating their function. We find four families of G-protein α-subunits (Gαi, Gαq, Gαs, and Gα12) present in both oocytes and eggs of the sea urchin. Three of them, Gαi, Gαq, and Gαs are present on the plasma membrane of the oocyte, while the fourth is located on cytoplasmic vesicles. Upon oocyte maturation, these proteins remain in eggs, and continue to be expressed in embryonic tissues. To test the functional contribution of the G-proteins to the regulation of oocyte maturation, we employ specific intervening reagents, including antibodies and competitor peptides to each Gα subunit, and specific Gα toxins. We find that Gi is a main candidate for a positive regulator of sea urchin oocyte maturation. These studies provide a foundation to further test specific hypotheses of the G-protein mediated regulation of oocyte maturation, fertilization, and early development in the sea urchin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-259
Number of pages13
JournalMechanisms of Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Heterotrimeric G-proteins
  • Meiosis
  • Oocyte maturation
  • Sea urchin


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