During maturation, the oocyte (immature egg) progresses from prophase I to metaphase II of meiosis and a multitude of cellular changes occur. In zebrafish, oocyte maturation is triggered by 17α,20β-dihydroprogesterone (DHP), which binds to a membrane-bound receptor, however the extent of communication between the oocyte and its environment is not fully understood. Wnt signaling pathways are known to regulate gene expression, cell behavior, cell adhesion, and cell polarity, as well as play an essential role in embryonic development. In this study, I investigated the potential activity of Wnt signaling pathways during zebrafish oocyte maturation by examining the gene expression of the key Wnt signaling pathway components Dishevelled and β-catenin over a maturational time-course using qPCR. I also visualized the localization of β-catenin in immature and mature oocytes using confocal microscopy. The results of my study suggested that these key Wnt signaling pathway components are upregulated over the course of maturation, indicating that Wnt signaling either plays a role in the processes of maturation itself, or that the cell is preparing itself for increased Wnt signaling during the subsequent process of embryo development.

First Advisor

Dr. Alyce DeMarais

Second Advisor

Dr. Courtney LaValle

Degree Type


Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2013