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Progesterone-induced changes in the phosphoryl potential during the meiotic divisions in amphibian oocytes: Role of Na/K-ATPase

Gene A Morrill1*, Terry L Dowd2, Adele B Kostellow1 and Raj K Gupta1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA

2 Department of Chemistry, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York Brooklyn, New York 11210, USA

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BMC Developmental Biology 2011, 11:67  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-11-67

Published: 6 November 2011



Progesterone triggers resumption of the first meiotic division in the Rana pipiens oocyte by binding to the N-terminal external loop of the catalytic subunit of Na/K-ATPase, releasing a cascade of lipid second messengers. This is followed by internalization of specific membrane proteins, plasma membrane depolarization and nuclear membrane breakdown, culminating in arrest at second metaphase.


Progesterone initiates an increase in phosphoryl potential during the first meiotic division, resulting in the accumulation of high energy protein phosphate by second metaphase arrest. 31P-NMR, with saturation transfer, demonstrates that the phosphocreatine level rises ~2 fold and that the "pseudo" first order rate constant for the creatine kinase reaction falls to ~20% of the control by the onset of nuclear membrane breakdown. 32PO4 pulse-labeling reveals a net increase in phosphorylation of yolk protein phosvitin during this period. The increased yolk protein phosphorylation coincides with internalization of membrane Na/K-ATPase and membrane depolarizatio


These results indicate that progesterone binding to the catalytic subunit of the Na-pump diverts ATP from cation regulation at the plasma membrane to storage of high energy phosphate in yolk protein. Phosvitin serves as a major energy source during fertilization and early cleavage stages and is also a storage site for cations (e.g. Na+, K+, Ca2+, Fe2+/3+) essential for embryonic development.

31P-NMR; phosvitin; Na/K-ATPase; meiosis; oocytes; bioenergetics