The temporal and spatial translation control of stored mRNA in oocytes is regulated by elements in their 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR). The MOS 3′-UTR in pig oocytes is both heterogeneous (180, 480, or 530 nucleotides), and it contains multiple U-rich elements and extensive A-rich sequences (CA13CA5CA5CA6). We have examined the role of these potential regulatory elements by fusing wild-type or mutant MOS 3′-UTRs to luciferase mRNA and then injecting these chimeric transcripts into oocytes. We draw six main conclusions. First, the length of the MOS 3′-UTR tightly controls the level of translation of luciferase during oocyte maturation. Second, two U-rich (U5A) elements and the hexanucleotide signal (AAUAAA) are required for translation. Third, mutations, duplications, or relocations of the A-rich sequence reduce or block translation. Fourth, the relative importance of the A-rich and U-rich elements in controlling the level of translation differs. Fifth, none of our MOS 3′-UTR manipulations relieved translational repression before germinal vesicle breakdown. Sixth, all the MOS mRNA variants underwent polyadenylation during maturation. Whereas mutations to the hexanucleotide signal block both polyadenylation and translation, mutations to either the A-rich sequence or the U-rich elements block translation without fully blocking polyadenylation. We conclude that MOS mRNA translation in pig oocytes is subject to a more extensive series of controls than that in lower vertebrates.
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