Seth a graduate student at Northwestern University. Seth is a member of the O’Halloran research group, studying zinc dynamics in the mammalian egg by developing fluorescent probes for zinc. Seth earned a B.S. degree in Chemical Biology from the University of California Berkeley. While at Berkeley, Seth studied protein translocation in an anthrax toxin model system. In 2011, Seth began his graduate studies in Northwestern’s Chemistry Department.
Zinc Fluctuation During Fertilization of the Mouse Egg
It is known that zinc regulates meiotic progression in the mammalian oocyte and is released from the oocyte at the time of fertilization in a zinc exocytotic event termed the “zinc spark.” By manipulating zinc availability in the oocyte using the zinc chelator (TPEN) we demonstrated that the release of 12-15 billion zinc atoms is required for proper progression from egg to embryo. More recently, using a newly synthesized zinc probe, we discovered an intracellular “zinc wave” occurring immediately after the zinc spark at the time of egg activation. The zinc wave persists over a much longer time period than calcium oscillations. To identify the source of free zinc that is monitored within the cell, we have designed a new generation of fluorescent zinc probes to measure the zinc status of the oocyte in a localized manner. The goal of these studies is to test whether the zinc wave that follows fertilization is the result of diffusion of zinc through the cytosol or if zinc is being moved rapidly through intracellular compartments or vesicles. Herein we will present our preliminary results in both understanding the properties of the zinc wave and the development of a new zinc sensor.