Type-I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) were characterized as a group of intracellular signalling proteins expressing both protein and lipid kinase activities. Recent studies implicate PI3Ks as mediators of oocyte maturation, but the molecular mechanisms are poorly defined. Here we used the Xenopus oocyte expression system as a model to investigate a possible contribution of the gamma-isoform of PI3K (PI3Kgamma) in the different pathways leading to cell-cycle progression by monitoring the time course of germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD). Expression of a constitutive active PI3Kgamma (PI3Kgamma-CAAX) induced GVBD and increased the levels of phosphorylated Akt/protein kinase B and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Furthermore, PI3Kgamma-CAAX accelerated progesterone-induced GVBD, but had no effect on GVBD induced by insulin. The effects of PI3Kgamma-CAAX could be suppressed by pre-incubation of the oocytes with LY294002, PD98059 or roscovitine, inhibitors of PI3K, MEK (MAPK/extracellular-signal-regulated protein kinase kinase) and cdc2/cyclin B kinase, respectively. Mutants of PI3Kgamma-CAAX, in which either lipid kinase or both lipid and protein kinase activities were altered or eliminated, did not induce significant GVBD. Our data demonstrate that expression of PI3Kgamma in Xenopus oocytes accelerates their progesterone-induced maturation and that lipid kinase activity is required to induce this effect.