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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2018 Jan;30(2):272-285. doi: 10.1071/RD17022.

Analysis of ZP1 gene reveals differences in zona pellucida composition in carnivores.

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Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Faculty of Medicine, Biomedical Research Institute of Murcia (IMIB-Arrixaca-UMU), University of Murcia, 30100, Murcia, Spain.
Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, UMR5558, CNRS, Université de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, 69622, Villeurbanne, France.
ANSES, Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife, CS 40009, 54220 Malzéville, France.
Department of Animal Health and Anatomy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193, Barcelona, Spain.


The zona pellucida (ZP) is an extracellular envelope that surrounds mammalian oocytes. This coat participates in the interaction between gametes, induction of the acrosome reaction, block of polyspermy and protection of the oviductal embryo. Previous studies suggested that carnivore ZP was formed by three glycoproteins (ZP2, ZP3 and ZP4), with ZP1 being a pseudogene. However, a recent study in the cat found that all four proteins were expressed. In the present study, in silico and molecular analyses were performed in several carnivores to clarify the ZP composition in this order of mammals. The in silico analysis demonstrated the presence of the ZP1 gene in five carnivores: cheetah, panda, polar bear, tiger and walrus, whereas in the Antarctic fur seal and the Weddell seal there was evidence of pseudogenisation. Molecular analysis showed the presence of four ZP transcripts in ferret ovaries (ZP1, ZP2, ZP3 and ZP4) and three in fox ovaries (ZP2, ZP3 and ZP4). Analysis of the fox ZP1 gene showed the presence of a stop codon. The results strongly suggest that all four ZP genes are expressed in most carnivores, whereas ZP1 pseudogenisation seems to have independently affected three families (Canidae, Otariidae and Phocidae) of the carnivore tree.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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