Compared with advanced developmental stage embryos and somatic cells, fully grown mammalian oocytes contain specific nucleolus-like structures (NPB - nucleolus precursor bodies). It is commonly accepted that they serve as a store of material(s) from which typical nucleoli are gradually formed. Whilst nucleoli from somatic cells can be collected relatively easily for further biochemical analyses, a sufficient number of oocyte nucleoli is very difficult to obtain. We have found that isolated oocytes nucleoli fuse very efficiently when contact is established between them. Thus, well visible giant nucleoli can be obtained, relatively easily handled and then used for further biochemical analyses. With the use of colloidal gold staining, we estimated that a single fully grown mouse oocyte nucleolus contains approximately 1.6 ng of protein. We do believe that this approach will accelerate further research aiming at analyzing the composition of oocyte nucleoli in more detail.
2012 Society for Reproduction and Development