Scientific reports

Aquaporin7 plays a crucial role in tolerance to hyperosmotic stress and in the survival of oocytes during cryopreservation.

PMID 26634435


Hyperosmotic stress may induce apoptosis of different cells. However, oocytes show tolerance to osmotic stress during cryopreservation by vitrification, which is an assisted reproductive technique. The underlying mechanism is still not understood. Here, we demonstrated that hyperosmosis produced by high concentrations of cryoprotectants, including DMSO, ethylene glycol and sucrose, significantly upregulated the protein levels of aquaporin (AQP) 7, but not AQP3 and AQP9, in mouse oocytes. Knockdown of AQP7 expression by siRNA-injection significantly reduced the survival of oocytes after vitrification. In oocytes, AQP7 was shown to bind with F-actin, a protein involved in almost all biological events. Moreover, we found that hyperosmosis could upregulate the phosphorylation levels of CPE-binding protein (CPEB) and Aurora A. Inhibition of the PI3K and PKC pathways blocked the hyperosmosis-induced upregulation of AQP7 and the phosphorylation of CPEB and Aurora A in oocytes. In conclusion, hyperosmosis could upregulate the expression of AQP7 via Aurora A/CPEB phosphorylation mediated by the PI3K and PKC pathways, and upregulation of AQP7 plays an important role in improving of tolerance to hyperosmotic stress and survival of oocytes during cryopreservation by vitrification.