The oocytes of most sexually reproducing animals arrest in meiotic prophase I. Oocyte growth, which occurs during this period of arrest, enables oocytes to acquire the cytoplasmic components needed to produce healthy progeny and to gain competence to complete meiosis. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the major sperm protein hormone promotes meiotic resumption (also called meiotic maturation) and the cytoplasmic flows that drive oocyte growth. Prior work established that two related TIS11 zincfinger RNA-binding proteins, OMA-1 and OMA-2, are redundantly required for normal oocyte growth and meiotic maturation. We affinity purified OMA-1 and identified associated mRNAs and proteins using genome-wide expression data and mass spectrometry, respectively. As a class, mRNAs enriched in OMA-1 ribonucleoprotein particles (OMA RNPs) have reproductive functions. Several of these mRNAs were tested and found to be targets of OMA-1/2-mediated translational repression, dependent on sequences in their 3′-untranslated regions (3′-UTRs). Consistent with a major role for OMA-1 and OMA-2 in regulating translation, OMA-1-associated proteins include translational repressors and activators, and some of these proteins bind directly to OMA-1 in yeast two-hybrid assays, including OMA-2. We show that the highly conserved TRIM-NHL protein LIN-41 is an OMA-1-associated protein, which also represses the translation of several OMA-1/2 target mRNAs. In the accompanying article in this issue, we show that LIN-41 prevents meiotic maturation and promotes oocyte growth in opposition to OMA-1/2. Taken together, these data support a model in which the conserved regulators of mRNA translation LIN-41 and OMA-1/2 coordinately control oocyte growth and the proper spatial and temporal execution of the meiotic maturation decision.
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