Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sperm Protein May Hold Clues For Fertility And Contraceptives

Date:
September 21, 1998
Source:
University Of California, Davis
Summary:
A protein found on the surface of the sperm of all mammals appears crucial for the union of the sperm and egg, as well as for movement of the sperm into the animal's oviduct, announce researchers at the University of California, Davis.

A protein found on the surface of the sperm of all mammals appears crucial for the union of the sperm and egg, as well as for movement of the sperm into the animal's oviduct, announce researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The discovery, which has direct implications for human fertility research as well as development of male contraceptives, is reported in the Sept. 18 issue of the journal Science.

"We suspected that sperm lacking the protein known as fertilin-beta would not be able to penetrate the egg, but we were quite surprised that these sperm even failed to bind with the egg's outer coating and rarely were able to travel from the uterus to the oviduct," said researcher Chunghee Cho. He is a molecular biologist and postdoctoral fellow from Korea working in the laboratory of UC Davis fertility researchers Diana Myles and Paul Primakoff.

The researchers studied the activity of sperm in mice lacking the gene for fertilin-beta, which belongs to a family of proteins found on the surface of cells and is believed to be important in cell binding.

Sperm from the mutant mice looked and moved normally, but most of them failed to attach to the egg. These sperm fused with the plasma membrane, which encases the egg, at just half the rate of sperm from normal mice.

Cho and colleagues anticipated this binding failure at the plasma membrane, but were surprised that the defective sperm were not even binding with the zona pellucida, the thick transparent wall that forms the outermost covering of the egg.

Furthermore, the sperm lacking fertilin-beta seemed unable to migrate from the uterus into the oviduct where the eggs are housed. The researchers speculate that this may be because the mutant sperm were unable to temporarily cling to the lining of the juncture of the uterus and oviduct as they normally would before proceeding into the oviduct.

The fertility rate of the male mice lacking fertilin-beta was 98 percent less than that of the normal male mice in the study.

"We are hopeful that a better understanding of fertilin-beta and related proteins in mice and non-humans will lead to the development of new male contraceptive drugs or vaccines as well as to future treatments for male infertility in humans," Cho said.

These findings were presented at a recent meeting of the International Congress of Spermatology. The study, conducted in collaboration with researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, Davis. "Sperm Protein May Hold Clues For Fertility And Contraceptives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980919123416.htm>.
University Of California, Davis. (1998, September 21). Sperm Protein May Hold Clues For Fertility And Contraceptives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980919123416.htm
University Of California, Davis. "Sperm Protein May Hold Clues For Fertility And Contraceptives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980919123416.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A study suggests people who follow a "rule of thumb" when pouring wine dispense less than those who don't have a particular amount in mind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins