PMID: 41185Nov 1, 1979

Intracellular pH and the sodium requirement at fertilisation

S S Shen, R A Steinhardt


Several lines of evidence suggest that ionic messengers are primary agents in the metabolic derepression which occurs at fertilisation. The derepression at fertilisation or parthenogenetic activation of the sea urchin egg occurs in two main phases. The first phase, which triggers the early events of fertilisation, is mediated by transitory increase of intracellular free calcium. The second, which triggers the late events of fertilisation, is mediated by a rise in the intracellular pH (refs 4-6). The transition from the early events of fertilisation of sea urchin eggs to the late events requires a minimal concentration of sodium in the external medium. External Na+ is required for the acid effux which follows fertilisation. Na+ requirement and the acid effux have been correlated in a hypothesis which proposes that internal protons are exchanged for external Na+ (refs 8, 9). By using pH-sensitive microelectrodes, we have examined the relationship between external Na+ and internal pH more closely. We demonstrate here that the increase of the intracellular pH following egg activation does require external Na+. However, the relative insensitivity of the alkalisation of the egg cytoplasm to large reductions of external Na+ is evidenc...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Metabolic Process, Cellular
Resting Potentials
Messenger protein
Calcium ion
Egg Activation
Sea urchin (invertebrate)

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