Mouse embryos employ a unique mechanism of cell volume regulation in which glycine is imported via the GLYT1 transporter to regulate intracellular osmotic pressure. Independent cell volume regulation normally becomes active in the oocyte after ovulation is triggered. This involves two steps: the first is the release of the strong adhesion between the oocyte and zona pellucida (ZP) while the second is the activation of GLYT1. In fully-grown oocytes, release of adhesion and GLYT1 activation also occur spontaneously in oocytes removed from the follicle. It is unknown, however, whether the capacity to release oocyte-ZP adhesion or activate GLYT1 first arises in the oocyte after ovulation is triggered or instead growing oocytes already possess these capabilities but they are suppressed in the follicle. Here, we assessed when during oogenesis oocyte-ZP adhesion can be released and when GLYT1 can be activated, with adhesion assessed by an osmotic assay and GLYT1 activity determined by [3H]-glycine uptake. Oocyte-ZP adhesion could not be released by growing oocytes until they were nearly fully grown. Similarly, the amount of GLYT1 activity that can be elicited in oocytes increased sharply at the end of oogenesis. The SLC6A9 protein that is responsible for GLYT1 activity and Slc6a9 transcripts are present in growing oocytes and increased over the course of oogenesis. Furthermore, SLC6A9 becomes localized to the oocyte plasma membrane as the oocyte grows. Thus, oocytes acquire the ability to regulate their cell volume by releasing adhesion to the ZP and activating GLYT1 as they approach the end of oogenesis. J. Cell. Physiol. 232: 2436–2446, 2017.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology