The Parkes Lecture. Zona pellucida glycoprotein mZP3: A versatile player during mammalian fertilization

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All mammalian eggs are surrounded by a relatively thick extracellular coat, the zona pellucida (ZP), which facilitates fertilization of eggs by a single spermatozoon. The mouse egg ZP is constructed of only three glycoproteins, termed mZP1-3. Each of these glycoproteins consists of a unique polypeptide that is heterogeneously glycosylated with both asparagine-(N)linked and serine/threonine-(O-)linked oligosaccharides. Polypeptides of ZP glycoproteins are highly conserved among mammalian species and are similar to polypeptides of egg vitelline envelope glycoproteins of fish, birds and amphibians One of the mouse ZP glycoproteins, mZP3, serves as both a receptor for spermatozoa and an inducer of the acrosome reaction during fertilization. Free swimming acrosome-intact spermatozoa recognize and bind to certain serine-(O-)linked oligosaccharides located close to the carboxy terminus of mZP3 polypeptide and, after binding, undergo the acrosome reaction (cellular exocytosis). In this review, in addition to the background information presented, results of recent experiments using homologous recombination to produce mZP3 null mice and site-directed mutagenesis to inactivate mZP3 as a sperm receptor and inducer of the acrosome reaction are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Fertility
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1999


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