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Adv Exp Med Biol. 1986;207:55-77.

Nature of the mouse egg's receptor for sperm.


The zona pellucida is an extracellular coat that surrounds all mammalian eggs. Sperm must penetrate the zona pellucida in order to reach and fuse with the plasma membrane of unfertilized eggs. Penetration is accomplished by a sequence of events involving both egg and sperm. First, sperm must bind to the outer margin of the zona pellucida. Such binding is mediated in a relatively species-specific manner by "sperm receptors" in the zona pellucida. Second, sperm must undergo the "acrosome reaction", a membrane fusion event, in order to traverse the zona pellucida. Here we review results from our own laboratory which demonstrate that, during the course of sperm-egg interaction in mice, zona pellucida glycoprotein ZP3 serves as both receptor for sperm and inducer of the acrosome reaction. Furthermore, we review evidence from our laboratory indicating that the sperm receptor activity of ZP3 is dependent only on its 0-linked carbohydrate components, whereas acrosome reaction-inducing activity is dependent on the polypeptide portion of ZP3 as well.

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