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Dev Biol. 1990 Feb;137(2):276-86.

Structural and functional relationships between mouse and hamster zona pellucida glycoproteins.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, Roche Research Center, Nutley, New Jersey 07110.


The hamster egg's extracellular coat, or zona pellucida, consists of three glycoproteins, designated hZP1, hZP2, and hZP3, that exhibit extensive heterogeneity on SDS-PAGE. hZP1 is a relatively minor component of hamster zonae pellucidae, as compared with hZP2 and hZP3. In the presence of reducing agents, hZP1, 200,000 apparent Mr, migrates on SDS-PAGE with an apparent Mr of 103,000. This suggests that hZP1, like mouse ZP1, is composed of two polypeptides held together by intermolecular disulfides. When purified hamster ZP glycoproteins were tested at relatively low concentrations in an in vitro competition assay, employing either hamster or mouse gametes, only hZP3 (56,000 apparent Mr) exhibited sperm receptor activity (i.e., inhibited binding of sperm to eggs). Thus, apparently hZP3 is the hamster counterpart of mouse ZP3, the mouse egg receptor for sperm. Furthermore, at relatively high concentrations, solubilized hamster egg ZP preparations induced both hamster and mouse sperm to undergo the acrosome reaction in vitro. hZP3 is encoded by a relatively abundant ovarian mRNA that is detected by a mouse ZP3 cDNA probe and is the same size, about 1.5 kb, as mRNA encoding the mouse sperm receptor, ZP3 (83,000 apparent Mr). Like mouse ZP2, hZP2 undergoes limited proteolysis following artificial activation of hamster eggs in vitro. Results of in vitro assays employing intact eggs and isolated zonae pellucidae demonstrate that hamster eggs possess a ZP2-proteinase which has a substrate specificity similar to that of the mouse enzyme. These observations are discussed in terms of structural and functional relationships that may exist between hamster and mouse zona pellucida glycoproteins.

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