Temporal fluctuations in zinc concentration are essential signals, including during oogenesis and early embryogenesis. In mammals, zinc accumulation and release are required for oocyte maturation and egg activation, respectively. Here, we demonstrate that zinc flux occurs in Drosophila oocytes and activated eggs, and that zinc is required for female fertility. Our synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy reveals zinc as the most abundant transition metal in Drosophila oocytes. Its levels increase during oocyte maturation, accompanied by the appearance of zinc-enriched intracellular granules in the oocyte, which depend on transporters. Subsequently, in egg activation, which mediates the transition from oocyte to embryo, oocyte zinc levels decrease significantly, as does the number of zinc-enriched granules. This pattern of zinc dynamics in Drosophila oocytes follows a similar trajectory to that in mammals, extending the parallels in female gamete processes between Drosophila and mammals and establishing Drosophila as a model for dissecting reproductive roles of zinc.
Keywords: Biotechnology; Embryology; Evolutionary Developmental Biology.
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