Calcium influx-mediated signaling is required for complete mouse egg activation.
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 CaMKII? activity because eggs can be parthenogenetically activated with a constitutively active form of CaMKII? 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 CaMKII? that are required for second polar body emission.
Project description:Egg activation, which is the first step in the initiation of embryo development, involves both completion of meiosis and progression into mitotic cycles. In mammals, the fertilizing sperm delivers the activating signal, which consists of oscillations in free cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)). Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a technique that in vitro fertilization clinics use to treat a myriad of male factor infertility cases. Importantly, some patients who repeatedly fail ICSI also fail to induce egg activation and are, therefore, sterile. Here, we have found that sperm from patients who repeatedly failed ICSI were unable to induce [Ca(2+)](i) oscillations in mouse eggs. We have also shown that PLC, zeta 1 (PLCZ1), the sperm protein thought to induce [Ca(2+)](i) oscillations, was localized to the equatorial region of wild-type sperm heads but was undetectable in sperm from patients who had failed ICSI. The absence of PLCZ1 in these patients was further confirmed by Western blot, although genomic sequencing failed to reveal conclusive PLCZ1 mutations. Using mouse eggs, we reproduced the failure of sperm from these patients to induce egg activation and rescued it by injection of mouse Plcz1 mRNA. Together, our results indicate that the inability of human sperm to initiate [Ca(2+)](i) oscillations leads to failure of egg activation and sterility and that abnormal PLCZ1 expression underlies this functional defect.
Project description:Fertilization triggers a rise in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) in the egg that initiates a series of events known as egg activation. These events include cortical granule exocytosis that establishes a block to polyspermy, resumption of meiosis, and recruitment of maternal mRNAs into polysomes for translation. Several calcium-dependent proteins, including calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), have been implicated in egg activation. However, the precise role of CaMKII in mediating specific events of egg activation and the identity of the isoform(s) present in mouse eggs have not been unequivocally established. Through targeted deletion of the gamma isoform of CaMKII, we find that CaMKIIgamma is the predominant CaMKII isoform in mouse eggs and that it is essential for egg activation. Although CaMKIIgamma(-/-) eggs exhibit a normal pattern of Ca(2+) oscillations after insemination and undergo cortical granule exocytosis, they fail to resume meiosis or to recruit maternal mRNAs. Surprisingly, we find that the recruitment of maternal mRNAs does not directly depend on CaMKII, but requires elevated [Ca(2+)](i) and metaphase II exit. We conclude that CaMKIIgamma specifically controls mouse egg activation by regulating cell cycle resumption.
Project description:During fertilization in mouse eggs, the sperm triggers a series of intracellular Ca2+ oscillations that lead to egg activation, as indicated by pronuclear formation. We show that Ca2+ oscillations in fertilized mouse eggs can be inhibited by addition of either the Ca2+ chelator 1,2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetra-acetic acid acetoxymethyl ester (BAPTA-AM) or the heavy-metal-ion chelator N,N,N',N'-tetrakis-(2-pyridylmethyl)ethylenediamine (TPEN) plus dithiothreitol (DTT). Both treatments inhibited Ca2+ oscillations, but they had different effects upon egg activation. Blocking Ca2+ oscillations with BAPTA-AM after the occurrence of just two Ca2+ spikes resulted in most eggs forming pronuclei. However, we found that BAPTA-AM-treated fertilizing eggs showed a decreased rate of protein synthesis, which by itself can promote egg activation. In contrast, blocking Ca2+ oscillations with TPEN plus DTT was accompanied by the inhibition of egg activation with no significant effect on protein synthesis. In eggs that were fertilized and then treated with TPEN plus DTT, there was a correlation between the number of Ca2+ spikes and the proportion of eggs that formed pronuclei, as well as between the number of Ca2+ spikes and the time taken for pronuclear formation and the first mitosis to occur. The addition of TPEN plus DTT did not block the generation of Ca2+ spikes or pronuclear formation when eggs were artificially stimulated by electroporation pulses. These data suggest that TPEN plus DTT inhibits pronuclear formation in fertilizing eggs via the inhibition of Ca2+ oscillations and that the number of Ca2+ spikes may regulate egg activation.
Project description:The success of mammalian development following fertilization depends on a series of transient increases in egg cytoplasmic Ca2+, referred to as Ca2+ oscillations. Maintenance of these oscillations requires Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane, which is mediated in part by T-type, CaV3.2 channels. Here we show using genetic mouse models that TRPM7 channels are required to support this Ca2+ influx. Eggs lacking both TRPM7 and CaV3.2 stop oscillating prematurely, indicating that together they are responsible for the majority of Ca2+ influx immediately following fertilization. Fertilized eggs lacking both channels also frequently display delayed resumption of Ca2+ oscillations, which appears to require sperm-egg fusion. TRPM7 and CaV3.2 channels almost completely account for Ca2+ influx observed following store depletion, a process previously attributed to canonical store-operated Ca2+ entry mediated by STIM/ORAI interactions. TRPM7 serves as a membrane sensor of extracellular Mg2+ and Ca2+ concentrations and mediates the effects of these ions on Ca2+ oscillation frequency. When bred to wild-type males, female mice carrying eggs lacking TRPM7 and CaV3.2 are subfertile, and their offspring have increased variance in postnatal weight. These in vivo findings confirm previous observations linking in vitro experimental alterations in Ca2+ oscillatory patterns with developmental potential and offspring growth. The identification of TRPM7 and CaV3.2 as key mediators of Ca2+ influx following fertilization provides a mechanistic basis for the rational design of culture media that optimize developmental potential in research animals, domestic animals, and humans.
Project description:Artificial oocyte activation to overcome failed fertilization after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in human oocytes typically employs Ca(2+) ionophores to produce a single cytosolic Ca(2+) increase. In contrast, recombinant phospholipase Czeta (PLC?) causes Ca(2+) oscillations indistinguishable from those occurring during fertilization, but remains untested for its efficacy in a scenario of ICSI fertilization failure. Here, we compare PLC? with other activation stimuli in a mouse model of failed oocyte activation after ICSI, in which heat-treated sperm are injected into mouse oocytes. We show that increasing periods of 56 °C exposure of sperm produces a progressive loss of Ca(2+) oscillations after ICSI. The decrease in Ca(2+) oscillations produces a reduction in oocyte activation and embryo development to the blastocyst stage. We treated such oocytes that failed to activate after ICSI either with Ca(2+) ionophore, or with Sr(2+) media which causes Ca(2+) oscillations, or we injected them with recombinant human PLC?. All these treatments rescued oocyte activation, although Sr(2+) and PLC? gave the highest rates of development to blastocyst. When recombinant PLC? was given to oocytes previously injected with control sperm, they developed normally to the blastocyst stage at rates similar to that after control ICSI. The data suggest that recombinant human PLC? protein is an efficient means of rescuing oocyte activation after ICSI failure and that it can be effectively used even if the sperm already contains endogenous Ca(2+) releasing activity.
Project description:During oocyte maturation, capacity and sensitivity of Ca(2+) signaling machinery increases dramatically, preparing the metaphase II (MII)-arrested egg for fertilization. Upon sperm-egg fusion, Ca(2+) release from IP3-sensitive endoplasmic reticulum stores results in cytoplasmic Ca(2+) oscillations that drive egg activation and initiate early embryo development. Premature Ca(2+) release can cause parthenogenetic activation prior to fertilization; thus, preventing inappropriate Ca(2+) signaling is crucial for ensuring robust MII arrest. Here, we show that regulator of G-protein signaling 2 (RGS2) suppresses Ca(2+) release in MII eggs. Rgs2 mRNA was recruited for translation during oocyte maturation, resulting in ? 20-fold more RGS2 protein in MII eggs than in fully grown immature oocytes. Rgs2-siRNA-injected oocytes matured to MII; however, they had increased sensitivity to low pH and acetylcholine (ACh), which caused inappropriate Ca(2+) release and premature egg activation. When matured in vitro, RGS2-depleted eggs underwent spontaneous Ca(2+) increases that were sufficient to cause premature zona pellucida conversion. Rgs2(-/-) females had reduced litter sizes, and their eggs had increased sensitivity to low pH and ACh. Rgs2(-/-) eggs also underwent premature zona pellucida conversion in vivo. These findings indicate that RGS2 functions as a brake to suppress premature Ca(2+) release in eggs that are poised on the brink of development.
Project description:A soluble phospholipase C (PLC) from boar sperm generates InsP(3) and hence causes Ca(2+) release when added to sea urchin egg homogenate. This PLC activity is associated with the ability of sperm extracts to cause Ca(2+) oscillations in mammalian eggs following fractionation. A sperm PLC may, therefore, be responsible for causing the observed Ca(2+) oscillations at fertilization. In the present study we have further characterized this boar sperm PLC activity using sea urchin egg homogenate. Consistent with a sperm PLC acting on egg PtdIns(4,5)P(2), the ability of sperm extracts to release Ca(2+) was blocked by preincubation with the PLC inhibitor U73122 or by the addition of neomycin to the homogenate. The Ca(2+)-releasing activity was also detectable in sperm from other species and in whole testis extracts. However, activity was not observed in extracts from other tissues. Moreover recombinant PLCbeta1, -gamma1, -gamma2, -delta1, all of which had higher specific activities than boar sperm extracts, were not able to release Ca(2+) in the sea urchin egg homogenate. In addition these PLCs were not able to cause Ca(2+) oscillations following microinjection into mouse eggs. These results imply that the sperm PLC possesses distinct properties that allow it to hydrolyse PtdIns(4,5)P(2) in eggs.
Project description:Sperm PLC? (phospholipase C?) is a distinct phosphoinositide-specific PLC isoform that is proposed to be the physiological trigger of egg activation and embryo development at mammalian fertilization. Recombinant PLC? has the ability to trigger Ca²? oscillations when expressed in eggs, but it is not known how PLC? activity is regulated in sperm or eggs. In the present study, we have transfected CHO (Chinese-hamster ovary) cells with PLC? fused with either YFP (yellow fluorescent protein) or luciferase and found that PLC?-transfected cells did not display cytoplasmic Ca²? oscillations any differently from control cells. PLC? expression was not associated with changes in CHO cell resting Ca²? levels, nor with a significantly changed Ca²? response to extracellular ATP compared with control cells transfected with either YFP alone, a catalytically inactive PLC? or luciferase alone. Sperm extracts containing PLC? also failed to cause Ca²? oscillations in CHO cells. Despite these findings, PLC?-transfected CHO cell extracts exhibited high recombinant protein expression and PLC activity. Furthermore, either PLC?-transfected CHO cells or derived cell extracts could specifically cause cytoplasmic Ca²? oscillations when microinjected into mouse eggs. These data suggest that PLC?-mediated Ca²? oscillations may require specific factors that are only present within the egg cytoplasm or be inhibited by factors present only in somatic cell lines.
Project description:CaMKII?, the predominant CaMKII isoform in mouse eggs, controls egg activation by regulating cell cycle resumption. In this study we further characterize the involvement and specificity of CaMKII? in mouse egg activation. Using exogenous expression of different cRNAs in Camk2g(-/-) eggs, we show that the other multifunctional CaM kinases, CaMKI, and CaMKIV, are not capable of substituting CaMKII? to initiate cell cycle resumption in response to a rise in intracellular Ca (2+). Exogenous expression of Camk2g or Camk2d results in activation of nearly 80% of Camk2g(-/-) MII eggs after stimulation with SrCl 2, which does not differ from the incidence of activation of wild-type eggs expressing exogenous Egfp. In contrast, none of the Camk2g(-/-) MII eggs expressing Camk1 or Camk4 activate in response to SrCl 2 treatment. Expression of a constitutively active form of Camk4 (ca-Camk4), but not Camk1, triggers egg activation. EMI2, an APC/C repressor, is a key component in regulating egg activation downstream of CaMKII in both Xenopus laevis and mouse. We show that exogenous expression of either Camk2g, Camk2d, or ca-Camk4, but not Camk1, Camk4, or a catalytically inactive mutant form of CaMKII? (kinase-dead) in Camk2g(-/-) mouse eggs leads to almost complete degradation (~90%) of exogenously expressed EMI2 followed by cell cycle resumption. Thus, degradation of EMI2 following its phosphorylation specifically by CaMKII is mechanistically linked to and promotes cell cycle resumption in MII eggs.
Project description:Sperm-specific phospholipase C ζ (PLCζ) activates embryo development by triggering intracellular Ca(2+) oscillations in mammalian eggs indistinguishable from those at fertilization. Somatic PLC isozymes generate inositol 1,4,5-trisphophate-mediated Ca(2+) release by hydrolyzing phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P(2)) in the plasma membrane. Here we examine the subcellular source of PI(4,5)P(2) targeted by sperm PLCζ in mouse eggs. By monitoring egg plasma membrane PI(4,5)P(2) with a green fluorescent protein-tagged PH domain, we show that PLCζ effects minimal loss of PI(4,5)P(2) from the oolemma in contrast to control PLCδ1, despite the much higher potency of PLCζ in eliciting Ca(2+) oscillations. Specific depletion of this PI(4,5)P(2) pool by plasma membrane targeting of an inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase (Inp54p) blocked PLCδ1-mediated Ca(2+) oscillations but not those stimulated by PLCζ or sperm. Immunolocalization of PI(4,5)P(2), PLCζ, and catalytically inactive PLCζ (ciPLCζ) revealed their colocalization to distinct vesicular structures inside the egg cortex. These vesicles displayed decreased PI(4,5)P(2) after PLCζ injection. Targeted depletion of vesicular PI(4,5)P(2) by expression of ciPLCζ-fused Inp54p inhibited the Ca(2+) oscillations triggered by PLCζ or sperm but failed to affect those mediated by PLCδ1. In contrast to somatic PLCs, our data indicate that sperm PLCζ induces Ca(2+) mobilization by hydrolyzing internal PI(4,5)P(2) stores, suggesting that the mechanism of mammalian fertilization comprises a novel phosphoinositide signaling pathway.