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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jun 24;94(13):6724-9.

The abalone egg vitelline envelope receptor for sperm lysin is a giant multivalent molecule.

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Marine Biology Research Division, Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0202, USA.


Abalone sperm lysin is a 16-kDa acrosomal protein, which nonenzymatically and species selectively creates a hole in the egg vitelline envelope (VE) through which the sperm passes to reach the egg cell membrane. The crystal structures of both monomeric and dimeric lysins have been solved and the sequences of lysins from 20 abalone species have been determined. As a first step in understanding the molecular mechanism by which lysin creates a hole in the VE, its VE receptor was isolated. The VE receptor for lysin (VERL) is an unbranched, rod-like molecule with an approximate relative molecular mass of 2 million; half the mass being carbohydrate. Fluorescence polarization studies showed positive cooperativity in the binding of lysin to VERL (EC50 approximately 9 nM) and were consistent with the species selectivity of lysin in dissolving VEs. Each molecule of VERL bound between 126 and 142 molecules of monomeric lysin (two independent assays), showing that VERL possesses repetitive lysin-binding motifs.

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