Cell cycle-dependent Ca2+ oscillations in mouse embryos are regulated by nuclear targeting of PLCζ

Mark G. Larman, Christopher M. Saunders, John Carroll, F. Anthony Lai, Karl Swann

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During the first cell cycle Ca2+ oscillations are regulated in a cell cycle-dependent manner, such that the oscillations are unique to M phase. How the Ca2+ oscillations are regulated with such cell cycle stage-dependency is unknown, despite their importance for egg activation and embryo development. We recently identified a novel, sperm-specific phospholipase C (PLCzeta; PLCζ) that triggers Ca2+ oscillations similar to those caused by sperm. We show that PLCζ-induced Ca2+ oscillations also occur exclusively during M phase. The cell cycle-dependency can be explained by PLCζ's localisation to the pronuclei, which depends specifically upon a nuclear localisation signal sequence. Preventing pronuclear localisation of PLCζ by mutation of the nuclear localisation signal, or by inhibiting pronuclear formation/import, can prolong Ca2+ oscillations or allow them to occur during interphase. These data suggest a novel mechanism for regulating a PLC through nuclear sequestration and may explain the cell cycle-dependent regulation of Ca2+ oscillations following fertilisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2513-2521
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ca oscillations
  • Cell cycle
  • Fertilisation
  • Phospholipase C

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