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J Biol Chem. 2002 Aug 16;277(33):30310-4. Epub 2002 Jun 13.

Mouse sperm lacking cell surface hyaluronidase PH-20 can pass through the layer of cumulus cells and fertilize the egg.

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1
Institute of Applied Biochemistry, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba Science City, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan.

Abstract

The function of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored sperm hyaluronidase PH-20 in fertilization has long been believed to enable acrosome-intact sperm to pass through the layer of cumulus cells and reach the egg zona pellucida. In this study, we have produced mice carrying a null mutation in the PH-20 gene using homologous recombination. Despite the absence of sperm PH-20, the mutant male mice were still fertile. In vitro fertilization assays showed that mouse sperm lacking PH-20 possess a reduced ability to disperse cumulus cells from the cumulus mass, resulting in delayed fertilization solely at the early stages after insemination. Moreover, SDS-PAGE of sperm extracts and subsequent Western blot analysis revealed the presence of other hyaluronidase(s), except PH-20, presumably within the acrosome of mouse sperm. These data provide evidence that PH-20 is not essential for fertilization, at least in the mouse, suggesting that the other hyaluronidase(s) may play an important role in sperm penetration through the cumulus cell layer and/or the egg zona pellucida, possibly in cooperation with PH-20, although the importance of sperm motility cannot be neglected.

PMID:
12065596
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.M204596200
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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