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The role of ATP in the differential ability of Sr2+ to trigger Ca2+ oscillations in mouse and human eggs

Storey, Anna, Elgmati, Khalil, Wang, Yisu, Knaggs, Paul and Swann, Karl ORCID: 2021. The role of ATP in the differential ability of Sr2+ to trigger Ca2+ oscillations in mouse and human eggs. Molecular Human Reproduction 27 (1) , gaaa086. 10.1093/molehr/gaaa086

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At fertilization in mice and humans, the activation of the egg is caused by a series of repetitive Ca2+ oscillations which are initiated by phospholipase-C(zeta)ζ that generates inositol-1-4-5-trisphophate (InsP3). Ca2+ oscillations and egg activation can be triggered in mature mouse eggs by incubation in Sr2+ containing medium, but this does not appear to be effective in human eggs. Here we have investigated the reason for this apparent difference using mouse eggs, and human eggs that failed to fertilize after IVF or ICSI. Mouse eggs incubated in Ca2+-free, Sr2+-containing medium immediately underwent Ca2+ oscillations but human eggs consistently failed to undergo Ca2+ oscillations in the same Sr2+ medium. We tested the InsP3-receptor (IP3R) sensitivity directly by photo-release of caged InsP3 and found that mouse eggs were about 10 times more sensitive to InsP3 than human eggs. There were no major differences in the Ca2+ store content between mouse and human eggs. However, we found that the ATP concentration was consistently higher in mouse compared to human eggs. When ATP levels were lowered in mouse eggs by incubation in pyruvate-free medium, Sr2+ failed to cause Ca2+ oscillations. When pyruvate was added back to these eggs, the ATP levels increased and Ca2+ oscillations were induced. This suggests that ATP modulates the ability of Sr2+ to stimulate IP3R-induced Ca2+ release in eggs. We suggest that human eggs may be unresponsive to Sr2+ medium because they have a lower level of cytosolic ATP.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1360-9947
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 14 December 2020
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 20:24

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