Aberrant protein expression is associated with decreased developmental potential in porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes.
In vitro maturation (IVM) of fully grown mammalian oocytes is characterized by initial germinal vesicle (GV) breakdown and rearrangement of microtubule network during the first meiosis (MI), followed by extrusion of the first polar body and block of the oocytes in metaphase of the second meiosis (MII). Only fully matured oocytes are capable of undergoing fertilization and the initiation of zygotic development. These observations are mostly based on morphological evaluation; however, the molecular events responsible for these processes are not known. In this study, we have launched the analysis of pig oocytes during in vitro maturation using a proteomics approach. First, oocyte proteins have been separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and identified by mass spectrometry. Remarkably, several proteins, including peroxiredoxins, ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase isozyme L1, and spermine synthase, are even more abundant than actin, usually the most abundant protein in somatic cells. Furthermore, we have initiated comparative analysis of the oocytes at different stages of maturation to characterize candidate proteins, which are differentially expressed during in vitro maturation. To date, we have identified antiquitin (D7A1), the member of aldehyde dehydrogenase family7 that has been significantly increased in MI and MII stages compared with GV oocytes. To our knowledge, this is the first pig oocyte proteome available so far that may be used as a reference map. The proteins that are differentially regulated during IVM may present potential biomarkers of oocyte maturation and quality. It is a useful inventory toward a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying reproduction and development.