Article ID: 2016-015
The non-receptor tyrosine kinase Pyk2 is a member of the focal adhesion kinase family and is highly expressed in oocytes. Using a combination of confocal microscopy and RNAi, we localized and studied the function of both Pyk2 and tyrosine-phosphorylated Pyk2 (p-Pyk2) during mouse oocyte fertilization and early embryo development. At the onset of fertilization, Pyk2 and p-Pyk2 were detected predominantly in sperm heads and the oocyte cytoplasm. Upon formation of male and female pronuclei, Pyk2 and its activated form leave the cytoplasm and accumulate in the two pronuclei. We detected Pyk2 in blastomere nuclei and found both Pyk2 and p-Pyk2 in the pre-blastula cytoplasm. Pyk2 and its activated form then disappeared from the blastula nuclei and localized to the perinuclear regions, where blastula cells come into contact with each other. Pyk2 knockdown via microinjection of siRNA into the zygote did not inhibit early embryo development. Our results suggest that Pyk2 plays multiple functional roles in mouse oocyte fertilization as well as throughout early embryo development.