Exposure of fully grown fish and amphibian oocytes to a maturation-inducing steroid (MIS) activates numerous signal transduction pathways to initiate the final stage of oocyte maturation. These events culminate in the activation of maturation-promoting factor and germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD). In most species, exposure to MIS causes a transient decrease in oocyte cAMP levels. Whether this reduction in oocyte cAMP concentration is sufficient to induce GVBD is unclear. The current study tested the hypothesis that activation of cAMP-independent signal transduction pathways by the naturally occurring MIS, 17,20beta,21-trihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (20beta-S), is necessary for GVBD in Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) oocytes. Results indicate that although 20beta-S treatment of oocyte membranes significantly reduced cAMP production, incubation of follicles with the cell-permeable cAMP-dependent protein kinase (Prka) inhibitors Rp-cAMP or KT5720 did not promote GVBD in the absence of 20beta-S. Additionally, treatment of follicles with the phosphodiesterase (Pde) inhibitors Cilostamide (Pde3) or Rolipram (Pde4) significantly reduced GVBD, but they were not able to completely block it. In contrast, pharmacologic inhibition of the cAMP-independent phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (Pik3)/Akt signal transduction pathway using the Pik3 inhibitors Wortmannin or LY294002, or the Akt inhibitor ML-9, blocked 20beta-S-induced GVBD. Finally, mitogen-activated protein kinase (Mapk1/3) activity increased after treatment with 20beta-S; however, inhibition of Mapk1/3 activity using PD98059 or U0126 had no effect on GVBD. These results demonstrate that activation of cAMP-independent signaling pathways, especially the Pik3/Akt pathway, is necessary for 20beta-S-induced GVBD in Atlantic croaker oocytes.
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