- During ovarian maturation in the crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus, changes in ovarian protein kinase C (PKC) isoenzymes take place in parallel to yolk accumulation (as shown by immunoblot analysis). Significant changes were recorded in the amounts of specific isoenzymes and in their distribution between the cytosol and the membranes. Ovarian maturation was accompanied by the appearance of high- and low-molecular-weight immunoreactive PKC isoenzyme species. Among the isoenzymes tested, PKC α was the most clearly activated during ovarian maturation, as shown by significant translocation from the cytosol to the particulate fraction and the appearance of high-molecular-weight species. Moreover, a similar picture was obtained in the ovaries of intersex individuals upon induction of secondary vitellogenesis by androgenic gland ablation. Immunohistological staining showed PKC α to be localized mainly in the cytosol of premature oocytes, whereas in later maturation stages, it was concentrated around the nucleus in a vesicular structure and in the oocyte membrane. In secondary vitellogenic stages, PKC was localized in the plasma membrane and apparently in follicular cells. In addition, its activity was demonstrated by in vitro phosphorylation assays of a crayfish ovarian homogenate. Activation of total PKC phosphorylation of histone, an external substrate, was induced by phosphatidylserine plus 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) or methyl farnesoate. Both TPA and methyl farnesoate stimulated activation of PKC α in organ culture, causing its translocation from the cytosol to the membranes and inducing autophosphorylation of threonine residues. The changes in PKC isoenzymes during ovarian maturation in the crayfish suggest their involvement in this process as well as a possible regulatory role for methyl farnesoate through a direct effect on some PKC isoenzymes.