Article

Calcium influx-mediated signaling is required for complete mouse egg activation.

Reproductive Medicine Group, Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 02/2012; 109(11):4169-74. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1112333109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mammalian fertilization is accompanied by oscillations in egg cytoplasmic calcium (Ca(2+)) concentrations that are critical for completion of egg activation. These oscillations are initiated by Ca(2+) release from inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3))-sensitive intracellular stores. We tested the hypothesis that Ca(2+) influx across the plasma membrane was a requisite component of egg activation signaling, and not simply a Ca(2+) source for store repletion. Using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and standard in vitro fertilization (IVF), we found that Ca(2+) influx was not required to initiate resumption of meiosis II. However, even if multiple oscillations in intracellular Ca(2+) occurred, in the absence of Ca(2+) influx, the fertilized eggs failed to emit the second polar body, resulting in formation of three pronuclei. Additional experiments using the Ca(2+) chelator, BAPTA/AM, demonstrated that Ca(2+) influx is sufficient to support polar body emission and pronucleus formation after only a single sperm-induced Ca(2+) transient, whereas BAPTA/AM-treated ICSI or fertilized eggs cultured in Ca(2+)-free medium remained arrested in metaphase II. Inhibition of store-operated Ca(2+) entry had no effect on ICSI-induced egg activation, so Ca(2+) influx through alternative channels must participate in egg activation signaling. Ca(2+) influx appears to be upstream of CaMKIIγ activity because eggs can be parthenogenetically activated with a constitutively active form of CaMKIIγ in the absence of extracellular Ca(2+). These results suggest that Ca(2+) influx at fertilization not only maintains Ca(2+) oscillations by replenishing Ca(2+) stores, but also activates critical signaling pathways upstream of CaMKIIγ that are required for second polar body emission.

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