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Open Access Research article

Plasma membrane events associated with the meiotic divisions in the amphibian oocyte: insights into the evolution of insulin transduction systems and cell signaling

Gene A Morrill1*, Adele B Kostellow1, Richard D Moore2 and Raj K Gupta1

Author Affiliations

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

2 The Biophysics Laboratory, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY, 12901, USA

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BMC Developmental Biology 2013, 13:3  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-13-3

Published: 23 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Insulin and its plasma membrane receptor constitute an ancient response system critical to cell growth and differentiation. Studies using intact Rana pipiens oocytes have shown that insulin can act at receptors on the oocyte surface to initiate resumption of the first meiotic division. We have reexamined the insulin-induced cascade of electrical and ion transport-related plasma membrane events using both oocytes and intact plasma membranes in order to characterize the insulin receptor-steroid response system associated with the meiotic divisions.

Results

[125I]Insulin binding (Kd = 54 ± 6 nM) at the oocyte plasma membrane activates membrane serine protease(s), followed by the loss of low affinity ouabain binding sites, with a concomitant 3–4 fold increase in high affinity ouabain binding sites. The changes in protease activity and ouabain binding are associated with increased Na+/Ca2+ exchange, increased endocytosis, decreased Na+ conductance resulting in membrane hyperpolarization, increased 2-deoxy-D-glucose uptake and a sustained elevation of intracellular pH (pHi). Hyperpolarization is largely due to Na+-channel inactivation and is the main driving force for glucose uptake by the oocyte via Na+/glucose cotransport. The Na+ sym- and antiporter systems are driven by the Na+ free energy gradient generated by Na+/K+-ATPase. Shifts in α and/or β Na+-pump subunits to caveolar (lipid raft) membrane regions may activate Na/K-ATPase and contribute to the Na+ free energy gradient and the increase in both Na+/glucose co-transport and pHi.

Conclusions

Under physiological conditions, resumption of meiosis results from the concerted action of insulin and progesterone at the cell membrane. Insulin inactivates Na+ channels and mobilizes fully functional Na+-pumps, generating a Na+ free energy gradient which serves as the energy source for several membrane anti- and symporter systems.

Keywords:
Insulin; Progesterone; Meiosis; Oocyte; Ouabain; Na/K-ATPase; Protease