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Inactivation of the mouse sperm receptor, mZP3, by site-directed mutagenesis of individual serine residues located at the combining site for sperm

By Jie Chen, Eveline S. Litscher and Paul M. Wassarman


To initiate fertilization, mouse sperm bind to Ser- (O-) linked oligosaccharides located at the sperm combining site of zona pellucida glycoprotein mZP3. Apparently, the oligosaccharides are present on one or more of five Ser residues clustered in the carboxyl-terminal region of the mZP3 polypeptide. Here, each of the Ser residues, as well as an intervening Asn residue, was converted to a small, nonhydroxy amino acid by site-directed mutagenesis. Mouse embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells were then stably transfected with the wild-type and mutated mZP3 genes. In each case, transfected cells synthesized and secreted recombinant EC-mZP3 into the culture medium. The glycoproteins were partially purified and assayed for their ability to inhibit binding of sperm to ovulated eggs in vitro. As compared with wild-type EC-mZP3, mutations of Ser-329, Ser-331, or Ser-333 had no effect on sperm receptor activity. Mutation of Asn-330, a potential N-linked glycosylation site, also had no effect on sperm receptor activity. On the other hand, mutation of either Ser-332 or Ser-334, or mutation of Ser-332, Ser-333, and Ser-334, resulted in complete inactivation of EC-mZP3 as a sperm receptor. These results suggest that Ser-332 and Ser-334, residues conserved in mouse, hamster, and human ZP3, are essential for sperm receptor activity

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences
Year: 1998
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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