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Reproduction. 2002 Jun;123(6):847-57.

Evaluation of the immunocontraceptive potential of Escherichia coli-expressed recombinant dog ZP2 and ZP3 in a homologous animal model.

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Gamete Antigen Laboratory, National Institute of Immunology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi-110067, India.


Dog zona pellucida glycoprotein 2 (dZP2), excluding the N-terminal signal sequence and the C-terminal transmembrane-like domain, was cloned and expressed as a polyhistidine fusion protein in Escherichia coli to evaluate the immunocontraceptive efficacy of ZP glycoproteins. The recombinant dZP2 (rec-dZP2) revealed a 70 kDa band corresponding to the full length transcript, as well as several low molecular mass fragments in western blot analysis. In addition to rec-dZP2, E. coli expressed recombinant dog ZP glycoprotein 3 (rec-dZP3), which has also been evaluated for its efficacy to block fertility in a homologous system. Three groups of female dogs (n = 4 per group) were immunized with rec-dZP2 conjugated to diphtheria toxoid (rec-dZP2-DT), rec-dZP3 conjugated to DT (rec-dZP3-DT) and DT alone. Immunization of female dogs with rec-dZP2-DT and rec-dZP3-DT led to generation of antibodies against the respective ZP proteins as well as to DT. Subsequent to mating, the four female dogs immunized with rec-dZP2-DT all conceived, which is indicative of failure of the anti-rec-dZP2 antibodies to block fertility. In the group of dogs immunized with rec-dZP3-DT, three of four animals did not conceive when mated with males of proven fertility. The block in fertility was associated with anti-dZP3 antibody titres. Ovarian histopathology revealed that the block in fertility in the group immunized with rec-dZP3-DT is probably manifested by inhibition in the development of follicles and is due to atretic changes in the zona pellucida. These results, although preliminary, indicate that immunization with dZP3 may be a feasible proposition to control dog populations provided that adequate antibody titres are achieved.

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