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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2006 Apr;17(2):264-73. Epub 2006 Apr 3.

PLCzeta(zeta): a sperm protein that triggers Ca2+ oscillations and egg activation in mammals.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK.


At fertilization in mammals, the sperm activates development by causing a prolonged series of intracellular Ca(2+) oscillations that are generated by increased production of inositol trisphosphate (InsP(3)). It appears that the sperm initiates InsP(3) generation via the introduction of a sperm factor into the egg after gamete membrane fusion. We recently identified a sperm-specific form of phospholipase C (PLC), referred to as PLCzeta(zeta). We review the evidence that PLCzeta represents the sperm factor that activates development of the egg and discuss the characteristics of PLCzeta that distinguish it from the somatic forms of PLC.

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