Calcium (Ca2+) uptake into the mitochondrial matrix is critically important for egg fertility. During fertilization, sperm activates the egg by triggering a series of Ca2+ oscillations. Mitochondria uptakes the cytosolic Ca2+ and thus couples energy demand to increased ATP production in addition to buffering the cytosolic Ca2+. The primary mechanism of Ca2+ uptake in somatic mitochondria, is carried by the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU). It is unknown whether the same mechanism of Ca2+ uptake exists in the egg mitochondria and what role the MCU plays in female fertility. We have confirmed MCU expression in egg mitochondria.

Research Aim 1: Demonstrate MCU role in Ca2+ uptake in egg mitochondria.

Research Aim 2: Explore whether MCU activity changes with aging.