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J Biol Chem. 2000 Mar 17;275(11):7731-42.

Structural analysis of murine zona pellucida glycans. Evidence for the expression of core 2-type O-glycans and the Sd(a) antigen.

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Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London SW7 2AY, United Kingdom.


Murine sperm initiate fertilization by binding to specific oligosaccharides linked to the zona pellucida, the specialized matrix coating the egg. Biophysical analyses have revealed the presence of both high mannose and complex-type N-glycans in murine zona pellucida. The predominant high mannose-type glycan had the composition Man(5)GlcNAc(2), but larger oligosaccharides of this type were also detected. Biantennary, triantennary, and tetraantennary complex-type N-glycans were found to be terminated with the following antennae: Galbeta1-4GlcNAc, NeuAcalpha2-3Galbeta1-4GlcNAc, NeuGcalpha2-3Galbeta1-4GlcNAc, the Sd(a) antigen (NeuAcalpha2-3[GalNAcbeta1-4]Galbeta1-4GlcNAc, NeuGcalpha2-3[GalNAcbeta1-4]Galbeta1-4GlcNAc), and terminal GlcNAc. Polylactosamine-type sequence was also detected on a subset of the antennae. Analysis of the O-glycans indicated that the majority were core 2-type (Galbeta1-4GlcNAcbeta1-6[Galbeta1-3]GalNAc). The beta1-6-linked branches attached to these O-glycans were terminated with the same sequences as the N-glycans, except for terminal GlcNAc. Glycans bearing Galbeta1-4GlcNAcbeta1-6 branches have previously been suggested to mediate initial murine gamete binding. Oligosaccharides terminated with GalNAcbeta1-4Gal have been implicated in the secondary binding interaction that occurs following the acrosome reaction. The significant implications of these observations are discussed.

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