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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Feb 24;268(3):947-51.

Xenopus and chicken sperm contain a cytosolic soluble protein factor which can trigger calcium oscillations in mouse eggs.

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Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100080, People's Republic of China.


There is evidence showing that at fertilization the sperm introduces into egg cytoplasm a protein-based cytosolic factor, which serves as the physiological trigger for inducing Ca(2+) oscillations in mammalian eggs. Here we show that sperm of nonmammalian vertebrates also contain a cytosolic protein factor that can induce Ca(2+) oscillations when introduced into mammalian eggs. We have observed that cytosolic extracts derived from Xenopus or chicken sperm could induce mouse eggs to undergo Ca(2+) oscillations similar to those induced by bovine sperm extracts. The factor responsible for inducing Ca(2+) oscillations was of high molecular weight and heat- or proteinase K-labile. We show that 0.5 chicken sperm-equivalents or 1-2 Xenopus sperm-equivalents of the extracts had enough activity to trigger Ca(2+) oscillations in mouse eggs. Our findings illustrate that although Xenopus, chicken, and mammals are evolutionarily divergent species, the function of the sperm protein factor in triggering Ca(2+) oscillations in mammalian eggs appears not to be species specific in vertebrates.

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