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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mechanisms regulating intracellular pH in sea urchin eggs.

Intracellular pH (pHi) of sea urchin eggs (Paracentrotus lividus) was determined using DMO (dimethyloxazolidinedione) and a rapid filtration technique (P. Payan, J.P. Girard, R. Christen and C. Sardet (1981). Exp. Cell Res. 134, 339-344). Transfer of unfertilized or fertilized eggs from normal sea water into Na+-free artificial sea water leads to a progressive acidification and fall of intracellular Na+ content. A step rise in external Na+ to 10 meq causes a rapid but transient Na+ entry coupled to an excretion of H+, giving rise to a pHi increase. It is shown that the plasma membrane of unfertilized eggs contains a permanent and reversible Na+/H+ exchanger which contributes to the regulation of pHi. This exchange occurs with a 1:1 stoichiometry and is independent of metabolic energy. Proton excretion and sodium entry follow saturable kinetics with respect to external Na+ and are completely inhibited by amiloride. At fertilization, pHi increases from 7.38 to 7.64 and is maintained at this level by two separate mechanisms: (1) a Na+/H+ exchange with the same characteristics as in unfertilized eggs; (2) a H+-excreting system that is dependent on external Na+, amiloride sensitive, and requiring metabolic energy. The relationship between the permanent Na+/H+ exchange involved in pHi regulation and the transient Na+/H+ exchange occurring at fertilization is discussed.[1]


  1. Mechanisms regulating intracellular pH in sea urchin eggs. Payan, P., Girard, J.P., Ciapa, B. Dev. Biol. (1983) [Pubmed]
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