EMAIL THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND

The Journal of experimental biology

Developmental expression of calcium transport proteins in extraembryonic membranes of oviparous and viviparous Zootoca vivipara (Lacertilia, Lacertidae).


PMID 21865511

Abstract

The eggshell of oviparous lizards is a significant source of calcium for embryos, whereas the eggshell of viviparous lizards, when present, contains little calcium. In view of the potential cost to embryonic nutrition occasioned by the loss of eggshell calcium, the large number of independent origins of viviparity among lizards is surprising. Concomitant evolution of viviparity and calcium placentotrophy would ameliorate the loss of eggshell calcium, but a mechanism linking these events has yet to be discovered. Zootoca vivipara, a lizard with geographic variation in its mode of parity, is an excellent model for studying mechanisms of calcium transport to oviparous and viviparous embryos because each is highly dependent on calcium secreted by the uterus (eggshell or placenta) and ontogenetic patterns of embryonic calcium mobilization are similar. We compared developmental expression of the calcium transport protein calbindin-D(28K) in yolk splanchnopleure and chorioallantoic membranes of oviparous and viviparous embryos to test the hypothesis that the mechanism of calcium transport does not differ between modes of parity. We found that the ontogenetic pattern of protein expression is similar between reproductive modes and is correlated with calcium uptake from yolk and either eggshell or placenta. Calbindin-D(28K) is localized in the chorionic epithelium of embryos of both reproductive modes. These findings suggest that the embryonic calcium transport machinery is conserved in the transition between reproductive modes and that an adaptation of oviparous embryos for calcium uptake from eggshells functions similarly to transport calcium directly from uterine secretions.