Oocyte Maturation and Fertilization: A long history for a short event


by

Elisabetta Tosti, Raffaele Boni

DOI: 10.2174/97816080518231110101
eISBN: 978-1-60805-182-3, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60805-062-8



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Indexed in: Chemical Abstracts

Events of reproduction occurring from meiotic resumption of the immature oocyte up to its exit from the second meiotic block following...[view complete introduction]
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Table of Contents

Foreword

- Pp. i

Ryuzo Yanagimachi

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Preface

- Pp. ii-iii (2)

Elisabetta Tosti and Raffaele Boni

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Contributors

- Pp. iv-vii (4)

Elisabetta Tosti, Raffaele Boni and Raffaele Boni

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Key Words

- Pp. ix-x (2)

Elisabetta Tosti, Raffaele Boni and Raffaele Boni

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Acknowledgements

- Pp. viii

Elisabetta Tosti, Raffaele Boni and Raffaele Boni

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Electron Microscopy of Mammalian Oocyte Development, Maturation and Fertilization

- Pp. 1-37 (37)

Poul Hyttel

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Intra- and Intercellular Molecular Mechanisms in Regulation of Meiosis in Murid Rodents

- Pp. 38-63 (26)

Alex Tsafriri and Nava Dekel

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The Enhancers of Oocyte Competence

- Pp. 64-70 (7)

Yves JR. Menezo and Kay Elder

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Genomic Regulation through RNA in Oocyte Maturation of Large Mammals

- Pp. 71-79 (9)

Marc-Andre Sirard*

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Meiotic Regulation by Maturation Promoting Factor and Cytostatic Factor in the Oocyte

- Pp. 80-92 (13)

Gian Luigi Russo, Stefania Bilotto and Francesco Silvestre

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Gamete Binding and Fusion

- Pp. 93-103 (11)

Young-Joo Yi and Peter Sutovsky

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Ionic Events at Fertilization

- Pp. 104-120 (17)

Brian Dale and Martin Wilding

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Recent Advances in the Understanding of the Molecular Effectors of Mammalian Egg Activation

- Pp. 121-134 (14)

Christopher Malcuit and Rafael A. Fissore

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In Vitro Fertilisation

- Pp. 135-148 (14)

Kay Elder

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Current State of the Art in Large Animal Cloning: Any Lesson?

- Pp. 149-155 (7)

Pasqualino Loi and Grazyna Ptak

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Stem Cells from Oocytes and Oocytes from Stem Cells

- Pp. 156-166 (11)

Fulvio Gandolfi, Georgia Pennarossa, Arianna Vanelli, Mahbubur M. Rahman and Tiziana A.L. Brevini

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Index

- Pp. 167-175 (9)

Elisabetta Tosti and Raffaele Boni

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Foreword

When I was a student 50 years ago I thought that all the interesting and important things on fertilization had already been discovered and nothing was left for me to study. I was very wrong. Very little was known about what you read in this book. Not known at all or not even imaginable. Today’s students should discover what is not written in this book. Fertilization is the event which connects successive generations. Its biological and medical importance cannot be overemphasized. Female and male gametes (egg and sperm) are equally important. Female germ cells were designed and made for male germ cells and vice versa. Although the time may come when unlimited numbers of functional gametes are produced in vitro from somatic cells and, reproduction without germ cells becomes possible, we must not forget that life on earth would not have flourished without sexual reproduction. I wish I could live 50 years more to see how this book will be revised by successive students.

Ryuzo Yanagimachi
Professor Emeritus
University of Hawaii Medical School
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


Preface

Sexual reproduction introduced a wide range of possible life forms into development, with a continuous evolution that is dominated by genetic variability. The main components of this complex biological process are two very special cells, the gametes, which undergo a unique form of division, meiosis. The physiology, biochemistry and reciprocal interaction of these special cells give rise to a new and unique individual.

Although the first documentation of assisted reproduction dates back to 1783, when Lazzaro Spallanzani performed the first artificial insemination in a bitch, the majority of experimental studies on reproduction started only during the second half of 19th century. Studies on fertilization have expanded widely during the last 150 years, from the simple description of shape, size and function of gametes and pre-implantation embryos to the breakthroughs facilitated by advanced biotechnology. A vast amount of information has emerged and continues to expand, in order to describe a “brief event” that covers the time span from the first meiotic arrest to the second meiotic arrest, i.e., oocyte maturation, to completion of meiosis following fertilization. In this brief time span, lasting from minutes to hours according to the species, the female gamete that has been quiescent for potentially many years rescues a complex machinery of events which culminate in fusion with a foreign cell in order to generate a new organism.

Upstream events, such as oocyte maturation, are a fundamental pre-requisite for successful completion of the developmental process. Analogous to the links in a chain, all of the reproductive steps are united by a common target: producing an individual that carries a new and original genome.

This book is an integrated approach to the study of the basic events involved reproduction, and contains recent achievements described by most of the outstanding scientists of this field. General and basic patterns of oocyte maturation and fertilization are described in a modern context of integrated morphological and biochemical methods, up to the practical application of this knowledge. Because of their typical external fertilization, simple marine invertebrate models (sea urchin, ascidians, etc.) initially provided relevant and unique sources of information on reproductive biology. A major impetus for transferring and comparing this information in mammals coincided with the development of protocols that also allowed external fertilization in mammals, first in laboratory animals, and then in livestock and human. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technology represents a revolution in the general knowledge of reproductive biology, opening new doors that lead to biomedical applications.

The initiation of a new life and the potential of being able to manipulate this event represent a very attractive subject, a concept that has spread from the biological to philosophical and theological interests. Unfortunately, the combination of ideology and biology led to conflicts that limited the natural pursuit of knowledge.

The journey that this issue embarks upon starts by describing the morphological modifications that occur in the oocyte during maturation and fertilization. The effects of orchestrated dynamics of hormones, growth factors and metabolites that influence the follicle during in vivo maturation is described, and related to in vitro conditions. The analysis of signal transduction by secondary messengers (i.e., Ca2+, cAMP) and effectors (i.e., IP3, NAADP) offers useful information about mechanisms that trigger oocyte meiotic competence, a necessary condition for efficient fertilization. A detailed view of genetic and epigenetic control of oocyte maturation is provided. The expression profiles of this control mechanism have been widely screened by microarray analysis and related to the correct progress of maturation required to achieve cytoplasmic hereditability.

Fertilization represents a very brief event, but it is responsible for long-lasting mechanisms that affect embryonic and foetal development. The reciprocal activation of gametes is described and highlighted with respect to novel information related to sperm factor and cascade mechanisms that occur in the oocyte as a consequence of sperm penetration. Gametes are electrogenic cells, i.e., capable of responding to electrical stimuli and modifying their electrical properties during the crucial periods of maturation and fertilization. A detailed description of ion currents during fertilization depicts another perspective on mechanisms of oocyte activation, further reinforcing the complexity of these systems. Molecular dynamics involved in meiotic arrest and resumption, as well as cascade mechanisms related to their control are analyzed and integrated with the other events described.

Finally, all of the basic information related to this brief time lapse is considered in relation to clinical application of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), analysing IVF efficiency and follow-up information in the perspectives of this information. New frontiers of ART, such as stem cells and cloning technologies, have been analyzed and future applications and improvements hypothesised. Old dogmas, such as the irreversible differentiation of tissue cells and impossibility of renewing the pool of female germ cells after birth, are now surpassed and new opportunities are presented through research advancements in reproductive biology.

We would like to thank all of the eminent authors who have joined us in devoting time and effort to this venture, and hope that the readership will benefit from their experience and skills.

Elisabetta Tosti and Raffaele Boni

List of Contributors

Editor(s):
Elisabetta Tosti
Stazione Zoologica “Anton Dohrn”
Italy


Raffaele Boni
University of Basilicata
Italy




Contributor(s):
Stefania Bilotto
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Avellino , 83100
Italy


Raffaele Boni
Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Animali
Università della Basilicata
Potenza, 85100
Italy


Tiziana AL Brevini
Laboratory of Biomedical Embryology
UniStem-Centre for Stem Cell Research, Università degli Studi di Milano
Milano , 20122
Italy


Brian Dale
CFA-Italia
Clinica Villa Del Sole, Via Manzoni 15
Naples, 80123
Italy


Nava Dekel
Department of Biological Regulation
The Weizmann Institute if Science
Rehovot
Israel


Kay Elder
Bourn Hall Clinic - Bourn, Cambridge CB3 7TR
UK


Rafael A. Fissore
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Massachusetts, 01003
USA


Fulvio Gandolfi
Laboratory of Biomedical Embryology
Milano, 20122
Italy


Poul Hyttel
Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences. Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE)
University of Copenhagen, Groennegaardsvej 7
Frederiksberg C, DK-1870
Denmark


Pasqualino Loi
Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences
University of Teramo
Teramo, 64100
Italy


Christopher Malcuit
CellThera, Inc. Southbridge, Massachusetts, 01550, USA
Bioengineering Institute, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester
Massachusetts, 01605
USA


Yves Menezo
UNILABS France Laboratoire d’Eylau
55 Rue St Didier
Paris, 75116



Georgia Pennarossa
Laboratory of Biomedical Embryology, UniStem-Centre for Stem Cell Research
Università degli Studi di Milano
Milano, 20122
Italy


Grazyna Ptak
Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Teramo, 64100
Italy


Mahbubur M. Rahman
Laboratory of Biomedical Embryology
Milano, 20122
Italy


GianLuigi Russo
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Avellino , 83100
Italy


Francesco Silvestre
Laboratory of Animal Physiology and Evolution Stazione Zoologica “Anton Dohrn”
Napoli , 80121
Italy


Marc-Andrè Sirard
Département des Science Animales
QC , G1K 7P4
Canada


Peter Sutovsky
Division of Animal Sciences and Department of Obstetrics
Columbia
MO , 65211
USA


Elisabetta Tosti
Laboratory of Animal Physiology and Evolution. Stazione Zoologica “Anton Dohrn”
Napoli , 80121
Italy


Alexander Tsafriri
Department of Biological Regulation
Rehovot
Israel


Arianna Vanelli
Laboratory of Biomedical Embryology
Milano
Italy


Martin Wilding
CFA-Italia, Clinica Villa Del Sole
Via Manzoni 15
Naples, 80123
Italy


Young-Joo Yi
Research Center for Transgenic Cloned Pigs, South Korea and Division of Animal Sciences
Columbia
MO , 65211
USA




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