Mammalian sperm-egg interaction: Identification of a glycoprotein in mouse egg zonae pellucidae possessing receptor activity for sperm

Jeffrey D. Bleil, Paul M. Wassarman

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Abstract

Sperm-egg interaction in mammals is initiated by binding of sperm to the zona pellucida, an acellular coat completely surrounding the plasma membrane of unfertilized eggs. Zonae pellucidae of mouse eggs are composed of three different glycoproteins, designated ZP1, ZP2 and ZP3, having apparent molecular weights of 200,000, 120,000 and 83,000, respectively Bleil and Wassarman, 1978, 1980a, 1980b. In this investigation, ZP1, ZP2 and ZP3 were purified from zonae pellucidae isolated individually from unfertilized mouse eggs and 2-cell embryos. Each of the glycoproteins was then tested for its ability to interfere with the binding of sperm to eggs in vitro. Solubilized zonae pellucidae isolated from unfertilized eggs, but not from 2-cell embryos, reduced binding of sperm to as little as 10% of control values. Similarly, ZP3 purified from zonae pellucidae of unfertilized eggs reduced the binding of sperm to eggs in vitro to an extent comparable to that observed with solubilized zonae pellucidae. On the other hand, ZP3 purified from zonae pellucidae of 2-cell embryos had no significant effect on the extent of sperm binding, consistent with the inability of solubilized zonae pellucidae from 2-cell embryos to affect sperm binding. In no case did purified ZP1 and ZP2 interfere significantly with the binding of sperm to eggs in vitro. These results suggest that ZP3 possesses the receptor activity responsible for the binding of sperm to zonae pellucidae of unfertilized mouse eggs. Fertilization apparently results in modification of ZP3 such that it can no longer serve as a receptor for sperm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-882
Number of pages10
JournalCell
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

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