Rafael A. Fissore

Rafael A. Fissore


he, him, his


427E ISB

Office phone: 




Ph.D.: University of Massachusetts, 1993
Postdoctoral Training: Harvard Medical School
Distinguished Faculty Lecturer  2008
Chancellor's Medal 2008
CFNR Outstanding Research Award 2002


ANIMLSCI 521H - Physiology of Reproduction Honors Colloquium

Research Interests

Ca2+ Release Mechanisms in Mammalian Eggs During Maturation and Fertilization

My laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanism by which the sperm is able to induce activation and trigger development in mammalian eggs. It is widely known that at fertilization the sperm induces Ca2+ oscillations and this Ca2+ release is the signal responsible for triggering the majority of events that culminate in embryonic development. However, how the sperm first signals Ca2+ release and oscillations in eggs remains to be elucidated. Therefore, a main topic of research in our laboratory is to identify the pathway, and isolate the molecule(s), responsible for this specific event of Ca2+ signaling. We are using several techniques to approach this question including intracellular Ca2+ signaling, in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), protein purification using column chromatography, and the application of multiple agonists/antagonists of common signal transduction pathways.

In another line of research, we are trying to understand the regulation of Ca2+ release through the inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor (IP3R). This receptor is thought to mediate the totality of Ca2+ release during fertilization in mammals. Furthermore, it undergoes specific degradation as the first cell cycle progresses, and this degradation appears to be exclusively associated with IP3 production. We are investigating whether or not changes in the cell cycle affect the conductivity of the receptor, and the pathway by which the receptor is degraded in mammalian eggs. To address these questions we are using kinase assays, western blotting, microinjection and inhibitors of the proteasome, expression of IP3R mRNAs and mutations of the receptor. We have also recently identified a new inhibitor of the IPR3R-1, KN-93, and are in the process of characterizing its mechanism of action.

Injection of SF induces egg activation

Lab Personnel

Name Email Phone Office
Akizawa, Hiroki
Postdoctoral Research Associate
hakizawa [at] umass.edu 413-545-5548 ISB 465A
Carpentiero, Francesca
Graduate Student - ABBS
fcarpentiero [at] umass.edu 413-545-5547 ISB 465A
Gupta, Neha
Graduate Student - ABBS
nehagupta [at] umass.edu 413-545-5547 ISB 465A
Lopes, Emily M.
Graduate Student - MCB
emlopes [at] umass.edu 413-545-5547 ISB 465A
Taylor, Louis
Graduate Student - MCB
lftaylor [at] umass.edu 413-545-5547 ISB 465A
Thaker , Nidhi
Graduate Student - ABBS
nthaker [at] umass.edu 413-545-5547 ISB 465A


Gupta, N., Akizawa, H., Lee, H. Chang, & Fissore, R. A.. (2022). SPERM FACTORS AND EGG ACTIVATION: ICSI and the discovery of the sperm factor and PLCZ1. Reproduction, 164(1), F9-F20. presented at the 2022 05 23. doi:10.1530/REP-21-0487
Michaut, M. A., Souza-Fabjan, J. M. G., & Fissore, R. A.. (2021). Editorial: The Fertilization Success From the Oocyte's Perspective. Front Cell Dev Biol, 9, 810420. presented at the 2021. doi:10.3389/fcell.2021.810420
Ardestani, G., Mehregan, A., Fleig, A., F Horgen, D., Carvacho, I., & Fissore, R. A.. (2020). Divalent cation influx and calcium homeostasis in germinal vesicle mouse oocytes. Cell Calcium, 87, 102181. presented at the 2020 05. doi:10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102181
Ito, J., Parrington, J., & Fissore, R. A.. (2011). PLCζ and its role as a trigger of development in vertebrates.. Molecular reproduction and development, 78(10-11), 846-53. presented at the 2011 Oct-Nov.
Wakai, T., Vanderheyden, V., & Fissore, R. A.. (2011). Ca2+ signaling during mammalian fertilization: requirements, players, and adaptations. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology, 3(4). presented at the 2011 Apr.