Luteinizing hormone- (LH)-dependent ovarian follicle maturation has been recently described in two stages for teleost fishes. The oocyte's ability to respond to the steroidal maturation-inducing hormone (MIH), also known as oocyte maturational competence (OMC), is acquired during the first stage; whereas the MIH-dependent resumption of meiosis occurs during the second stage. However, studies directly addressing OMC have been performed with a limited number of species and therefore the general relevance of the two-stage model and its mechanisms remain uncertain. In this study, we examined the hormonal regulation of OMC and its basic transduction mechanisms in ovarian follicles of the sciaenid teleost, Nibe (Nibea mitsukurii). Exposure to MIH [17,20??-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one or 17,20??,21-trihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one] stimulated germinal vesicle breakdown (index of meiotic resumption) in full-grown follicles primed with human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, an LH-like gonadotropin) but not in those pre-cultured in plain incubation medium. The induction of OMC by HCG was mimicked by protein kinase A (PKA) activators (forskolin and dibutyryl cyclic AMP), and blocked by specific inhibitors of PKA (H89 and H8) as well as inhibitors of RNA (actinomycin D) and protein (cycloheximide) synthesis. Forskolin-induced OMC was also inhibited by actinomycin D and cycloheximide. A strong activator of protein kinase C, PMA, inhibited HCG-dependent OMC. In conclusion, OMC in Nibe ovarian follicles is gonadotropin-dependent and requires activation of the PKA pathway followed by gene transcription and translation events. These observations are consistent with the two-stage model of ovarian follicle maturation proposed for other teleosts, and suggest that Nibe can be used as new model species for mechanistic studies of ovarian follicle differentiation and maturation in fishes.