Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Dr. Robert Potter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. David Merkler, PhD

Committee Member

Dr. Larry Solomonson, PhD


Thesaurin a, Cytoplasmic mRNA binding protein p54, Vg1 RNA binding protein variant A, Zygote arrest 1, Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis


Oocyte development in Xenopus laevis spans six morphologically distinct stages (stage I-VI), and is associated with a decrease in protein O-GlcNAc levels. As a first step in elucidating the role of O-GlcNAc in developing oocytes, initial efforts were focused on isolation and identification of fifteen modified proteins that decrease during oocyte development. Stage I oocytes due to their high amounts of these proteins, were used as starting material for purification. Multiple affinity and specific antibody based purification technique were initially used in an attempt to enrich the O-GlcNAc proteins. Due to the unique properties of the proteins ultimately identified, these techniques were unable to provide sufficient material for sequencing. However, differential centrifugation coupled with 2D-gel electrophoresis was highly successful. The majority of isolated proteins were strongly basic in nature with pIs 8-10. Coomassie stained bands from 2D-analysis were trypsin digested, and peptides were sequenced by mass spectroscopy (Finnigan LCQ). Mass data were interpreted by Bioworks software, and protein sequences were compared to multiple protein databases. Initially, six proteins were identified as Thesaurin a (42Sp50), cytoplasmic mRNA binding protein p54, y-box homolog, Xp 54 (ATP dependent RNA helicase p54), Vg1 RNA binding protein variant A, Zygote arrest 1(Zar1) and Poly (A) binding protein (PABP). Thesaurin a, the main component of 42S particle of previtellogenic oocytes (stages I-III) is involved in tRNA storage and possess low tRNA transfer activity; y-box factor homolog and Xp54 are present in oocyte mRNA storage ribonucleoprotein particles; Vg1 RBP variant A associates mVg1 RNA to microtubules in order to translocate to the vegetal cortex; Zar1 is involved in oocyte-to-embryo transition; and PABP initiates mRNA translation. This study is the first to characterize these oocyte specific proteins as O-GlcNAc modified proteins. Overall, the presence of several O-GlcNAc proteins in oocytes, the reduction in their levels/ O-GlcNAc levels, and the variation in maturation time in the presence of HBP-flux modulators in developing oocyte indicates O-GlcNAc may play important roles in metabolism, cell growth and cell division of X. laevis oocytes. Therefore, identifying the remainder of these proteins and elucidating the O-GlcNAc role in their function is a worthwhile pursuit.