Oocyte maturation (OM) in teleosts is under precise hormonal control by progestins and estrogens. We show here that estrogens activate an epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr) signaling pathway in fully grown, denuded zebrafish (Danio rerio) oocytes through the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (Gper; also known as GPR30) to maintain oocyte meiotic arrest in a germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) bioassay. A GPER-specific antagonist, G-15, increased spontaneous OM, indicating that the inhibitory estrogen actions on OM are mediated through Gper. Estradiol-17beta-bovine serum albumin, which cannot enter oocytes, decreased GVBD, whereas treatment with actinomycin D did not block estrogen's inhibitory effects, suggesting that estrogens act at the cell surface via a nongenomic mechanism to prevent OM. The intracellular tyrosine kinase (Src) inhibitor, PP2, blocked estrogen inhibition of OM. Expression of egfr mRNA and Egfr protein were detected in denuded zebrafish oocytes. The matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor, ilomastat, which prevents the release of heparin-bound epidermal growth factor, increased spontaneous OM, whereas the MMP activator, interleukin-1alpha, decreased spontaneous OM. Moreover, inhibitors of EGFR (ErbB1) and extracellular-related kinase 1 and 2 (Erk1/2; official symbol Mapk3/1) increased spontaneous OM. In addition, estradiol-17beta and the GPER agonist, G-1, increased phosphorylation of Erk, and this was abrogated by simultaneous treatment with the EGFR inhibitor. Taken together, these results suggest that estrogens act through Gper to maintain meiotic arrest via an Src kinase-dependent G-protein betagamma subunit signaling pathway involving transactivation of egfr and phosphorylation of Mapk3/1. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that EGFR signaling in vertebrate oocytes can prevent meiotic progression.
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Vol. 85 • No. 1