Lipid levels in sperm, eggs, and during fertilization in Xenopus laevis

Douglas W. Petcoff, William L. Holland, Bradley J. Stith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Critical developmental periods, such as fertilization, involve metabolic activation, membrane fusion events such as sperm-egg or plasma membrane-cortical granule merger, and production and hydrolysis of phospholipids. However, there has been no large-scale quantification of phospholipid changes during fertilization. Using an enzymatic assay, traditional FA analysis by TLC and gas chromatography, along with a new method of phospholipid measurement involving HPLC separation and evaporative light-scattering detection, we report lipid levels in eggs, sperm, and during fertilization in Xenopus laevis. Sperm were found to contain different amounts of phospholipids as compared with eggs. During fertilization, total phosphatidylinositol, lysophosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, and phosphatidylserine decreased, and ceramide increased, whereas there was no change in phosphatidylcholine, cardiolipin, or phosphatidylethanolamine. FA analysis of phospholipids found numerous changes during fertilization. Because there is an increase in sn-1,2-diacylglycerol at fertilization, the FAs associated with this increase and the source of the increase in this neutral lipid were examined. Finally, activation of phospholipase C, phospholipase D, phospholipase A2, autotoxin, and sphingomyelinase at fertilization is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2365-2378
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008


  • Autotaxin
  • Diacylglycerol
  • Phospholipase A2
  • Phospholipase C
  • Phospholipase D
  • Sphingomyelinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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