Sperm-Egg Recognition Mechanisms in Mammals

Paul M. Wassarman, Eveline S. Litscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


This chapter describes gamete surface components that support tight species-specific binding of the free-swimming mammalian sperm to unfertilized eggs. Such binding is mediated in part, by carbohydrate. The zona pellucida glycoprotein, “ZP3,” serves as sperm receptor during fertilization in mammals. Close inspection of the characteristics of this glycoprotein, coupled with some speculation, may shed light on sperm–egg recognition mechanisms in mammals. ZP3 consists of at least two different functional domains, perhaps separated from each other, by a hinge region of the polypeptide. One of the domains is thought to include the C-terminal third of the ZP3 polypeptide, which possesses the O-linked oligosaccharides that constitute, at least in part, the combining site for the sperm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Sperm-Egg Recognition Mechanisms in Mammals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this