Category: Francesca E. Duncan

Northwestern researchers have discovered that when the human egg is activated by a sperm enzyme, an explosion of zinc sparks erupt


Northwestern University researchers have discovered that when the human egg is activated by a sperm enzyme, an explosion of zinc sparks erupt

If the videos do not start automatically, then click on the two  links below. They are from the study published in Scientific Reports

http://www.nature.com/article-assets/npg/srep/2016/160426/srep24737/extref/srep24737-s1.avi

http://www.nature.com/article-assets/npg/srep/2016/160426/srep24737/extref/srep24737-s2.avi

Video is courtesy of GeoBeats News YouTube channel

Abstract

Egg activation refers to events required for transition of a gamete into an embryo, including establishment of the polyspermy block, completion of meiosis, entry into mitosis, selective recruitment and degradation of maternal mRNA, and pronuclear development. Here we show that zinc fluxes accompany human egg activation. We monitored calcium and zinc dynamics in individual human eggs using selective fluorophores following activation with calcium-ionomycin, ionomycin, or hPLCζ cRNA microinjection. These egg activation methods, as expected, induced rises in intracellular calcium levels and also triggered the coordinated release of zinc into the extracellular space in a prominent “zinc spark.” The ability of the gamete to mount a zinc spark response was meiotic-stage dependent. Moreover, chelation of intracellular zinc alone was sufficient to induce cell cycle resumption and transition of a meiotic cell into a mitotic one. Together, these results demonstrate critical functions for zinc dynamics and establish the zinc spark as an extracellular marker of early human development.

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Click on this line to visit the Scientific Reports website to read the complete study titled:

The zinc spark is an inorganic signature of human egg activation

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Title:
The zinc spark is an inorganic signature of human egg activation

Authors: Francesca E. Duncan, Emily L. Que, Nan Zhang, Eve C. Feinberg, Thomas V. O’Halloran et al.

Publication: Scientific Reports

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Date: Apr 26, 2016

Copyright © 2016, Rights Managed by Nature Publishing Group

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