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Free access

Neha Gupta, Hiroki Akizawa, Hoi Chang Lee, and Rafael A Fissore

The discovery of PLCZ1 nearly 20 years ago as the primary Ca2+ oscillation-inducing factor in the sperm of mammals represented a significant breakthrough in our quest to elucidate the molecules and pathways that promote egg activation during fertilization. The advent of the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) technique, which made fertilization possible without sperm capacitation, acrosome reaction, and gamete fusion, strengthened the research that led to the discovery of PLCZ1 and became an essential clinical tool for humans. The use of ICSI combined with the detection of PLCZ1 expression and mutations in infertile patients established the fundamental role of PLCZ1 in human fertility while leading to the discovery of novel components of the perinuclear theca, the site of the residence of PLCZ1 in sperm before fertilization. Remarkably, the more extensive use of ICSI in species other than humans and mice revealed poor success and exposed gaps in our understanding of PLCZ1 release and/or activation. Similarly, fertilization using sperm from mouse models lacking Plcz1 has produced striking results whose true implications are yet to be determined. Nevertheless, answers to these unresolved questions will produce a complete picture of the adaptations and molecular players that mammalian species employ to ensure the success of the triggering event of embryo development that has linked generations since the beginning of times.

Open access

Dalileh Nabi, Davide Bosi, Neha Gupta, Nidhi Thaker, Rafael Fissore, and Lynae M Brayboy

In brief

Oocyte quality remains the most important and unsolved issue in reproduction. Our data show that multidrug resistance transporters and oocyte mitochondria are involved in determining oocyte quality in a mouse model.


Multidrug resistance transporter-1 (MDR-1) is a transmembrane ATP-dependent effluxer present in organs that transport a variety of xenobiotics and by-products. Previous findings by our group demonstrated that this transporter is also present in the oocyte mitochondrial membrane and that its mutation led to abnormal mitochondrial homeostasis. Considering the importance of these organelles in the female gamete, we assessed the impact of MDR-1 dysfunction on mouse oocyte quality, with a particular focus on the meiotic spindle organization, aneuploidies, Ca2+ homeostasis, ATP production and mtDNA mutations. Our results demonstrate that young Mdr1a mutant mice produce oocytes characterized by lower quality, with a significant delay in the germinal vesicle to germinal vesicle breakdown transition, an increased percentage of symmetric divisions, chromosome misalignments and a severely altered meiotic spindle shape compared to the wild types. Mutant oocytes exhibit 7000 more SNPs in the exomic DNA and twice the amount of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) SNPs compared to the wild-type ones. Ca2+ analysis revealed the inability of MDR-1 mutant oocytes to manage Ca2+ storage content and oscillations in response to several stimuli, and ATP quantification shows that mutant oocytes trend toward lower ATP levels compared to wild types. Finally, 1-year-old mutant ovaries express a lower amount of SIRT1, SIRT3, SIRT5, SIRT6 and SIRT7 compared to wild-type levels. These results together emphasize the importance of MDR-1 in mitochondrial physiology and highlight the influence of MDR-1 on oocyte quality and ovarian aging.