Ca2+ release and the development of Ca2+ release mechanisms during oocyte maturation: A prelude to fertilization

John Carroll, Keith T. Jones, David G. Whittingham

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79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Oogenesis involves the production of an oocyte that can undergo fertilization and support early development. The stimulus that initiates embryogenesis is an increase in the concentration of intracellular Ca2+ in the cytoplasm of the oocyte at the time of fertilization. The development of the ability of the oocyte to release Ca2+ in response to the fertilizing spermatozoon is an essential step in the process of oogenesis. Mammalian oocytes are particularly useful for studying the development of Ca2+ signalling systems, owing to the series of Ca2+ oscillations generated at fertilization, compared with the monotonic Ca2+ increase seen in nonmammalian species. Recent evidence has revealed that Ca2+ release mechanisms are modified during oogenesis. The maximal sensitivity of Ca2+ release is reached in the final stages of oocyte maturation, just before the optimal time for fertilization. In this review, we consider the mechanism underlying Ca2+ release in mammalian oocytes and discuss how the release mechanisms are modified during oocyte maturation. The tight co-ordination of the differentiation of the Ca2+ signalling system with the development of the oocyte provides a means of ensuring successful activation at the time of fertilization. Finally, we consider the consequences for embryo development in circumstances in which the co-ordination is lost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalReviews of Reproduction
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

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