Several disulfide-reducing agents, such as dithiothreitol, 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanol, cysteine ethyl ester, and cysteine methyl ester enhanced the effectiveness of 1-methyladenine (1-MeAde) to induce oocyte maturation in the starfish Asterina pectinifera. This enhancement occurred at relatively low concentrations at which these agents by themselves were ineffective in inducing oocyte maturation. The agents caused a marked (about twofold) increase in specific [1-3H]MeAde binding. The binding increased directly in relation to the potency of the agents in enhancing 1-MeAde action. Scatchard analysis indicated that dithiothreitol increased the Bmax without affecting the affinity of 1-MeAde binding. These results strongly suggest that disulfide-reducing agents enhance the maturational action of 1-MeAde by increasing the number of 1-MeAde binding sites in oocyte cortices.
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