Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crystallography Reveals The 3D Structure Of Mammalian Sperm Receptor

Date:
December 5, 2008
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Scientists have determined the first 3D structure of ZP3, a protein essential for the interaction between the mammalian egg coat and sperm. The findings, presented in Nature, gives a first glimpse into the molecular architecture of animal egg coats, with important implications for the future of human reproductive medicine and the possibility of developing novel contraceptives.

Scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have determined the first 3D structure of ZP3, a protein essential for the interaction between the mammalian egg coat and sperm. The findings, presented in Nature, gives a first glimpse into the molecular architecture of animal egg coats, with important implications for the future of human reproductive medicine and the possibility of developing novel contraceptives.

Related Articles


The beginning of every new life starts with fertilization, the most crucial step of which is the initial species-specific recognition between egg and sperm. The receptors for sperm, proteins ZP3 and ZP2, contain a common sequence that allows them to form a matrix of filaments, the so-called zona pellucida that completely surrounds the egg. The Protein Crystallography Unit at Karolinska Institutet, led by Dr. Luca Jovine, has now determined the structure of the most conserved part of this building block, the ZP-N domain.

“ZP3 was identified almost 30 years ago, but obtaining structural information on this key reproductive protein has been technically challenging due to its high heterogeneity”, says Luca Jovine.

The zona pellucida is essential for natural fertilization in mammals. The Karolinska Institutet researchers hope that X-ray crystallographic characterization of a region of ZP3 that is important for its ability to polymerize could help explaining cases of human infertility, as well as lead to the development of novel targeted, non-hormonal contraceptives. The research made on the ZP-N domain has also provided insights that extend beyond the field of reproduction. Among other things, an unexpected parallel has been uncovered with molecular features that are involved in speciation among invertebrates.

Moreover, ZP-N domains are also found in many other extracellular proteins that are unrelated to fertilization, but play important roles in human diseases such as non-syndromic deafness, renal and vascular disorders, and cancer. In the Nature paper, an example is discussed that shows how the structure of ZP-N can be used to understand the molecular basis of some of these disorders.

“Mammalian fertilization involves a highly complex series of events. Our findings pave the way for future investigations into this fascinating subject by providing a first snapshot of the beginning of life at atomic resolution”, says Luca Jovine.

The research was supported by Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Research Council and the EU Sixth Framework Programme.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Magnus Monnι, Ling Han, Thomas Schwend, Sofia Burendahl & Luca Jovine. Crystal structure of the ZP-N domain of ZP3 reveals the core fold of animal egg coats. Nature, 4 December 2008

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Crystallography Reveals The 3D Structure Of Mammalian Sperm Receptor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081204074646.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2008, December 5). Crystallography Reveals The 3D Structure Of Mammalian Sperm Receptor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081204074646.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Crystallography Reveals The 3D Structure Of Mammalian Sperm Receptor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081204074646.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) — Israeli scientists says laser bonding of tissue allows much faster healing and less scarring. Amy Pollock has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) — The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) — The Indian government declared victory over leprosy in 2005, but the disease is making a comeback in some parts of the country, with more than a hundred thousand lepers still living in colonies, shunned from society. Duration: 02:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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