Egg activation events are regulated by the duration of a sustained [Ca2+]cyt signal in the mouse

Dev Biol. 2005 Jun 1;282(1):39-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.02.035.


Although the dynamics of oscillations of cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]cyt) play important roles in early mammalian development, the impact of the duration when [Ca2+]cyt is elevated is not known. To determine the sensitivity of fertilization-associated responses [i.e., cortical granule exocytosis, resumption of the cell cycle, Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) activity, recruitment of maternal mRNAs] and developmental competence of the parthenotes to the duration of a [Ca2+]cyt transient, unfertilized mouse eggs were subjected to a prolonged [Ca2+]cyt change for 15, 25, or 50 min by means of repetitive Ca2+ electropermeabilization at 2-min intervals. The initiation and completion of fertilization-associated responses are correlated with the duration of time in which the [Ca2+]cyt is elevated, with the exception that autonomous CaMKII activity is down-regulated with prolonged elevated [Ca2+]cyt. Activated eggs from 25- or 50-min treatments readily develop to the blastocyst stage with no sign of apoptosis or necrosis and some implant. Ca2+ influx into unfertilized eggs causes neither Ca2+ release from intracellular stores nor rapid removal of cytosolic Ca2+. Thus, the total Ca2+ signal input appears to be an important regulatory parameter that ensures completion of fertilization-associated events and oocytes have a surprising degree of tolerance for a prolonged change in [Ca2+]cyt.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cytosol / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fertilization / physiology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Ovum / drug effects*
  • Ovum / metabolism
  • Ovum / physiology*
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Time Factors


  • Histones
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Calcium