A MAPK cascade couples maternal mRNA translation and degradation to meiotic cell cycle progression in mouse oocytes

Qian Qian Sha, Xing Xing Dai, Yujiao Dang, Fuchou Tang, Junping Liu, Yin Li Zhang, Heng-Yu Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian oocyte maturation depends on the translational activation of stored maternal mRNAs upon meiotic resumption. Cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein 1 (CPEB1) is a key oocyte factor that regulates maternal mRNA translation. However, the signal that triggers CPEB1 activation at the onset of mammalian oocyte maturation is not known. We provide evidence that a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade couples maternal mRNA translation to meiotic cell cycle progression in mouse oocytes by triggering CPEB1 phosphorylation and degradation. Mutations of the phosphorylation sites or ubiquitin E3 ligase binding sites in CPEB1 have a dominant-negative effect in oocytes, and mimic the phenotype of ERK1/2 knockout, by impairing spindle assembly and mRNA translation. Overexpression of the CPEB1 downstream translation activator DAZL in ERK1/2- deficient oocytes partially rescued the meiotic defects, indicating that ERK1/2 is essential for spindle assembly, metaphase II arrest and maternal-zygotic transition (MZT) primarily by triggering the translation of key maternal mRNAs. Taken together, ERK1/2- mediated CPEB1 phosphorylation/degradation is a major mechanism of maternal mRNA translational activation, and is crucial for mouse oocyte maturation and MZT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-463
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Female fertility
  • MAPK cascade
  • Maternal-zygotic transition
  • Meiosis
  • mRNA translation
  • Oocyte maturation

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