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Development of Ca2+-release mechanisms during oocyte maturation of the starfish Asterina pectinifera

  • Isao Takahashi (a1) and Keiichiro Kyozuka (a2) (a1)


An important step for successful fertilization and further development is the increase in intracellular Ca2+ in the activated oocyte. It has been known that starfish oocytes become increasingly sensitive to inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) during meiotic maturation to exhibit highly efficient IP3-induced Ca2+ release (IICR) by the time of germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD). However, we noted that the peak level of intracellular Ca2+ increase after insemination is already high in the maturing oocytes before GVBD. Using maturing oocytes before GVBD, we investigated Ca2+ release mechanisms other than IICR. We report here that Ca2+-release mechanisms dependent on nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADP), the precursor of NAADP, became functional prior to the development of IICR mechanisms. As with IP3, but unlike NAADP, the Ca2+ stores responsive to NADP are sensitized during the meiotic maturation induced by 1-methyladenine (1-MA). This suggests that the process may represent a physiological response to the maturation hormone. NADP-dependent Ca2+ release in immature oocytes, however, did not induce oocyte maturation by itself, but was enhanced by the conditions mimicking the increases of intracellular Ca2+ and pH that take place in the maturing oocytes of starfish.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to Keiichiro Kyozuka. Research Center for Marine Biology, Asamushi, Graduate School of Life Science, Tohoku University, Asamushi, Aomori 039–3501, Japan. Tel: +81 17 752 3397. Fax: +81 17 752 2765. E-mail:


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