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Cells Tissues Organs. 2000;166(2):165-79.

Secreted proteins of the oviduct.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. 32610-0294, USA.


During late follicular development and estrus, the mammalian oviduct undergoes specific physiological and biochemical modifications which contribute to an optimization of the microenvironment for fertilization and early cleavage-stage embryonic development. These changes appear to be hormonally regulated by ovarian steroids, most importantly, estrogen. The hundreds of macromolecules found within the oviductal lumen are contributed by selective serum transudation and active biosynthesis and secretion from nonciliated epithelial cells. Recent studies have indicated temporal and regional (infundibulum, ampulla and isthmus) differences in steady-state levels of specific mRNAs and in de novo protein synthesis and secretion by the oviduct. One protein synthesized de novo, the estrogen-dependent oviductal secretory glycoprotein (OSP), has been shown to be unique to the oviduct and is conserved across a number of mammalian species. This protein associates with the zona pellucida, perivitelline space and vitelline or blastomere membrane of ovulated eggs and preimplantation embryos. OSPs have been shown to enhance sperm binding and penetration in oocytes and may regulate development in early preimplantation embryos. Other regulatory molecules, protease inhibitors, growth factors, cytokines, binding proteins, enzymes and immunoglobulins have been identified in the oviductal microenvironment. The identification and potential roles for oviduct-secreted proteins will be reviewed and discussed. Current research focuses on continued identification and characterization of specific oviductal proteins and a determination of the molecular basis of their interactions with the oocyte, sperm or embryo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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