Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Kenneth L. White


Kenneth L. White


Thomas D. Bunch


Lee F. Rickords


Chris J. Davies


Gregory J. Podgorski


Kenneth L. White


In addition to contributing genes at fertilization, the sperm cell induces the oocyte to leave its arrested state and resume metabolism in the process of activation. A hallmark of oocyte activation is a release of intracellular calcium (Ca2+i) from the endoplasmic reticulum. The mediators of oocyte activation have been studied in many animal models, while little is known in the bovine model. Both Src Family Kinase (SFK) and Phospholipase C (PLC) enzymes have been reported to be involved in oocyte activation in other animal models. In this dissertation are described experiments that define the role of SFK and PLC enzymes in the pathway leading to Ca2+i and calcium induced calcium release in bovine oocyte activation. Western blotting was used to discover that SFKs Src, Hck, and Lck are present in matured bovine oocytes, and Src, Blk, and Yes are present in acrosome reacted bovine spermatozoa. The PLC δ1 and δ3 are present in both matured bovine oocytes and spermatozoa. PLC δ4, γ2, and η2 are present in matured bovine oocytes. Microinjecting a known general SFK inhibitor, PP2, significantly decreases both Ca2+i and cleavage rates. Microinjecting a 13 amino acid peptide that mimics the phosphorylated carboxyl terminal region of pp60c-src decreases both Ca2+i and cleavage rates. Microinjecting a downstream substrate of pp60c-src sequestered any signal produced by Src and decreased Ca2+i and cleavage rates. Microinjecting primary antibodies raised against PLC isotypes blocked both Ca2+i and cleavage rates, giving insight to the mechanism of calcium induced calcium release in the bovine model. The PLC isotypes δ3, δ4, and γ2 decreased Ca2+i oscillations and cleavage rates, indicating they are involved in both IP3R and RyR activation. PLC δ4 and η2 did not impact Ca2+i but did significantly decrease cleavage rates. The data presented in this dissertation increase the understanding of the pathway leading to bovine oocyte activation and further confirm that the detailed pathway differs among animal models.




This work made publicly available electronically on December 31, 2013.