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Dev Biol. 2007 Dec 1;312(1):321-30. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

Alterations of PLCbeta1 in mouse eggs change calcium oscillatory behavior following fertilization.

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  • 1Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate generated by the action of a phospholipase C (PLC) mediates release of intracellular Ca2+ that is essential for sperm-induced activation of mammalian eggs. Much attention currently focuses on the role of sperm-derived PLCzeta in generating changes in egg intracellular Ca2+ despite the fact that PLCzeta constitutes a very small fraction of the total amount of PLC in a fertilized egg. Eggs express several isoforms of PLC, but a role for an egg-derived PLC in sperm-induced Ca2+ oscillations has not been examined. Reducing egg PLCbeta1 by a transgenic RNAi approach resulted in a significant decrease in Ca2+ transient amplitude, but not duration or frequency, following insemination. Furthermore, overexpressing PLCbeta1 by microinjecting a Plcb1 cRNA significantly perturbed the duration and frequency of Ca2+ transients and disrupted the characteristic shape of the first transient. These results provide the first evidence for a role of an egg-derived PLC acting in conjunction with a sperm-derived PLCzeta in egg activation.

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