Fertilization in the medusan, Spirocodon saltatrix.

Biological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 1.23). 01/1951; 99(3):412-5. DOI: 10.2307/1538471
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Jellyfish eggs neither undergo apparent cortical reaction nor show any significant change in the membrane potential at fertilization, but nevertheless show monospermy. Utilizing the perfectly transparent eggs of the hydrozoan jellyfish Cytaeis uchidae, here we show that the polyspermy block is accomplished via a novel mechanism: a collaboration between Ca(2+) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). In Cytaeis, adhesion of a sperm to the animal pole surface of an egg was immediately followed by sperm-egg fusion and initiation of an intracellular Ca(2+) rise from this site. The elevated Ca(2+) levels lasted for several minutes following the sperm-egg fusion. The Ca(2+) rise proved to be necessary and sufficient for a polyspermy block, as inhibiting a Ca(2+) rise with EGTA promoted polyspermy, and conversely, triggering a Ca(2+) rise by inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) or excess K(+) immediately abolished the egg's capacity for sperm-egg fusion. A Ca(2+) rise at fertilization or by artificial stimulations evoked dephosphorylation of MAPK in eggs. The eggs in which phosphorylated MAPK was maintained by injection of mRNA for MAPK kinase kinase (Mos), like intact eggs, exhibited a Ca(2+) rise at fertilization or by IP3 injection, and shut down the subsequent sperm-egg fusion. However, the Mos-expressing eggs became capable of accepting sperm following the arrest of Ca(2+) rise. In contrast, addition of inhibitors of MAPK kinase (MEK) to unfertilized eggs caused MAPK dephosphorylation without elevating Ca(2+) levels, and prevented sperm-egg fusion. Rephosphorylation of MAPK by injecting Mos mRNA after fertilization recovered sperm attraction, which is known to be another MAPK-dependent event, but did not permit subsequent sperm-egg fusion. Thus, it is possible that MAPK dephosphorylation irreversibly blocks sperm-egg fusion and reversibly suppresses sperm attraction. Collectively, our data suggest that both the fast and late mechanisms dependent on Ca(2+) and MAPK, respectively, ensure a polyspermy block in jellyfish eggs.
    Developmental Biology 05/2014; · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gamete age has been postulated to be unimportant to the fertilization ecology of marine invertebrates. However, recent research suggests that, for some species at least, it may have a direct impact upon fertilization success. We present comparative data on the influence of gamete age on fertilization and development success in several marine invertebrates: the polychaetes Arenicola marina and Nereis virens and the asteroid echinoderm Asterias rubens. Oocytes are much longer lived in the polychaetes than in the echinoderm, with A. marina oocytes still capable of fertilizing and developing normally 96 h post-spawning. Developmental abnormalities and failure to reach blastula tend to occur well before the fertilizable life of the oocytes has expired. Sperm are similarly longer lived in the polychaetes; however, fertilizing capacity is markedly reduced following incubation in conspecific egg-conditioned seawater. These results are discussed in terms of the fertilization strategies of the three species. We further suggest that, for A. marina at least, longer-lived sperm and eggs are central to the fertilization strategy of this species.
    Biological Bulletin 03/2002; 202(1):34-42. · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Egg extracts from 32 species of marine hydromedusae, siphonophores and sessile hydroids were tested for sperm attracting activity using the sperm of all species in both homo- and heterospecific combinations. Species-specific sperm chemotaxis could be demonstrated in nearly every species tested. Of the 1,024 possible combinations, 272 could not be attempted for lack of material. Of the 752 which were carried out, only 13 heterospecific cross-reactions were found. The bulk of these involved reactions which were either weaker in the heterospecific direction or unidirectional. The sperm behavior in response to both homospecific and heterospecific egg extracts is described. In the latter case, no changes in sperm motility or direction of movement were observed. In the former case, the sperm show turning behavior which brings them closer to the source of the extract. Since most of the Hydrozoa tested share the same habitat and are reproductively active at the same time of year, it appears that species-specific sperm chemotaxis may be a significant mechanism for both ensuring fertilization in an environment which subjects the gametes to massive dilution and preventing hybridization.
    Marine Biology 01/1979; 53(2):99-113. · 2.39 Impact Factor


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