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Ca2+ oscillations can be induced in mammalian eggs and somatic cells by microinjection of a cytosolic sperm protein factor. The nature of the sperm factor-induced Ca2+ signaling was investigated by adding sperm protein extracts to homogenates of sea urchin eggs, which contain multiple classes of Ca2+ release mechanisms. We show that the sperm factor mobilizes Ca2+ from non-mitochondrial Ca2+ stores in egg homogenates after a distinct latency. This latency is abolished by preincubation of sperm extracts with egg cytosol. The preincubation step is highly temperature-dependent and generates a high molecular weight, protein-based Ca2+-releasing agent that can also mobilize Ca2+ from purified egg microsomes. This Ca2+ release appears to be mediated via both inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and ryanodine receptors, since homologous desensitization of these two release mechanisms by their respective agonists inhibits further release by the sperm factor. However, sperm factor-induced Ca2+ release by these channels is independent of inositol 1,4, 5-trisphosphate or cADPR since antagonists of either of these two messengers did not block the Ca2+ release effected by the sperm factor. The sperm protein factor may cause Ca2+ release via an enzymatic step that generates a protein-based Ca2+-releasing agent.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





28901 - 28905


Animals, Calcium, Calcium Channels, Carrier Proteins, Cytosol, Ion Transport, Male, Molecular Weight, Sea Urchins, Spermatozoa, Swine