Na+/Ca2+ exchanger in porcine oocytes

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The presence of the Na+/Ca2+ exchange mechanism was investigated in porcine oocytes. Immature and in vitro-matured oocytes were loaded with the Ca2+-sensitive fluorescent dye fura 2 and changes in the intracellular free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) were monitored after altering the Na+ concentration gradient across the plasma membrane. Decreasing the extracellular Na+ concentration induced an increase in [Ca2+]i possibly by a Ca2+ influx via the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger. A similar Ca2+ influx could also be triggered after increasing the intracellular Na+ concentration by incubation in the presence of ouabain (0.4 mM), a Na+/K+-ATPase inhibitor. The increase in the [Ca2+]i was due to Ca2+ influx since it was abolished in the absence of extracellular Ca2+, and the increase was mediated by the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger since it was blocked by the application of amiloride or bepridil, inhibitors of Na+/Ca2+ exchange. Verapamil (50 μM) and pimozide (50 μM), inhibitors of L- and T-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, respectively, could not block the Ca2+ influx. The Ca2+ entry via the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger could not induce the release of cortical granules and did not stimulate the resumption of meiosis. This was unexpected because Ca2+ is thought to be a universal trigger for activation. Using antibodies raised against the exchanger, it was demonstrated that the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger was localized predominantly in the plasma membrane. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed that porcine oocytes contain a transcript that shows 98.1% homology to the NACA3 isoform of the porcine Na+/Ca2+ exchanger.

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Biology of Reproduction

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