Phospholipase Cζ, the trigger egg activation in mammals, is present in a non-mammalian species

Kevin Coward, C. P. Ponting, H. Y. Chang, O. Hibbitt, P. Savolainen, K. T. Jones, J. Parrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


The activation of the egg to begin development into an embryo is triggered by a sperm-induced increase in intracellular egg Ca2+. There has been much controversy about how the sperm induces this fundamental developmental event, but recent studies suggest that, in mammals, egg activation is triggered by a testis-specific phospholipase C: PLCζ. Since the discovery of PLCζ, it has been unclear whether its role in triggering egg activation is common to all vertebrates, or is confined to mammals. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that PLCζ is present in a non-mammalian vertebrate. Using genomic and cDNA databases, we have identified the cDNA encoding a PLCζ orthologue in the domestic chicken that, like the mammalian isoforms, is a testis-specific gene. The chicken PLCζ cDNA is 2152bp in size and encodes an open reading frame of 639 amino acids. When injected into mouse oocytes, chicken PLCζ cRNA triggers Ca2+ oscillations, indicating that it has functional properties similar to those of mammalian PLCζ. Our findings suggest that PLCζ may have a universal role in triggering egg activation in vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Cell Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Embryology


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