The oocyte-to-embryo transition transforms a differentiated germ cell into a totipotent zygote capable of somatic development. In C. elegans, several oocyte proteins, including the meiotic katanin subunit MEI-1 and the oocyte maturation protein OMA-1, must be degraded during this transition . Degradation of MEI-1 and OMA-1 requires the dual-specificity YAK-1-related (DYRK) kinase MBK-2 . Here, we demonstrate that MBK-2 directly phosphorylates MEI-1 and OMA-1 in vitro and that this activity is essential for degradation in vivo. Phosphorylation of MEI-1 by MBK-2 reaches maximal levels after the meiotic divisions, immediately preceding MEI-1 degradation. MEI-1 phosphorylation and degradation still occur in spe-9 eggs, which undergo meiotic maturation and exit in the absence of fertilization . In contrast, MEI-1 phosphorylation and degradation are blocked in cell-cycle mutants that arrest during the meiotic divisions, and are accelerated in wee-1.3(RNAi) oocytes, which prematurely enter meiotic M phase (A. Golden, personal communication). A GFP:MBK-2 fusion relocalizes from the cortex to the cytoplasm during the meiotic divisions, and this relocalization also depends on cell-cycle progression. Our findings suggest that regulators of meiotic M phase activate a remodeling program, independently of fertilization, to prepare eggs for embryogenesis.