Zebrafish ( Danio rerio
) Z-OTU, containing OTU and TUDOR domains, was predicted to be a member of OTU-related protease, a family of the deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs). A previous report from our laboratory clearly describes the expression patterns of z-otu mRNA. Here, we characterized the Z-OTU protein during zebrafish oogenesis and early embryogenesis. After prokaryotic expression, the recombinant protein of the OTU domain and GST was purified and injected into rabbits to obtain the polyclonal antibody-anti-Z-OTU, which was used for immunohistochemistry in zebrafish ovaries and embryos. Interestingly, obvious differences existed between the expression patterns of z-otu
mRNA and its protein during oogenesis and early embryogenesis. In stage I oocytes, z-otu
mRNA was detected in cytoplasm while its protein existed in the germinal vesicle. In addition, its protein was distributed during entire oogenesis, while mRNA was not detected in oocytes at stage IV or mature oocytes. The z-otu
mRNA disappeared after midblastula transition (MBT) and its protein gradually decreased after this stage. We inferred that Z-OTU protein, like other OTU-related protease with DUB activity, was required for germinal vesicle breakdown of oocytes during meiosis, germinal vesicle migration, and embryo cleavage maintenance.