Zinc availability regulates exit from meiosis in maturing mammalian oocytes

Alison M. Kim, Stefan Vogt, Thomas V. O'Halloran, Teresa K. Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


Cellular metal ion fluxes are known in alkali and alkaline earth metals but are not well documented in transition metals. Here we describe major changes in the zinc physiology of the mammalian oocyte as it matures and initiates embryonic development. Single-cell elemental analysis of mouse oocytes by synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) revealed a 50% increase in total zinc content within the 12ĝ€"14-h period of meiotic maturation. Perturbation of zinc homeostasis with a cell-permeable small-molecule chelator blocked meiotic progression past telophase I. Zinc supplementation rescued this phenotype when administered before this meiotic block. However, after telophase arrest, zinc triggered parthenogenesis, suggesting that exit from this meiotic step is tightly regulated by the availability of a zinc-dependent signal. These results implicate the zinc bolus acquired during meiotic maturation as an important part of the maternal legacy to the embryo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-681
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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