This past summer I worked in the Fissore Lab studying the localization and expression of TRPM7 in bovine oocytes, cumulus cells, and sperm. After fertilization of an oocyte, the occurrence of calcium oscillations becomes imperative for successful egg activation. These oscillations in calcium levels are mediated by ion channels situated in the plasma membrane. Among these ion channels, the Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin (TRPM) family, particularly TRPM7, holds significant interest for my research. The TRPM7 protein is bifunctional as it acts as both an ion channel and a serine/threonine kinase. Research indicates that mice with conditional knockout of TRPM7 exhibit subfertility, proving the essential role of TRPM7 in mouse fertility. My research aimed to discern the expression levels and localization of TRPM7 in bovine oocytes, cumulus cells, and sperm. This is important as understanding these calcium channels can help us figure out ways to improve ART in the cattle industry. Utilizing many different techniques such as qPCR, western blotting, and immunofluorescence I was able to come up with my results.
I am grateful to be continuing my research with the Fissore lab to further investigate TRPM7 in the mouse model for the upcoming year. I was able to form amazing relationships with my lab members because of this past summer!