A novel approach To Identify Bovine Sperm Membrane Proteins That Interact With Receptors On The Vitelline Membrane Of Bovine Oocytes

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Mol. Reprod. Dev.

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At fertilization, the sperm triggers intracellular calcium oscillations, which are pivotal to oocyte activation and development. A working hypothesis for the interaction between the sperm and the oocyte is that disintegrin ligands on the inner acrosomal membrane of the sperm bind to integrin receptors on the oocyte vitelline membrane. The aim of these experiments was to find and identify the sperm protein ligands involved in bovine sperm–oocyte interactions. In situ fluorescent labeling of proteins and 2‐D gel electrophoresis were used to identify specific sperm membrane proteins that interact with proteins in the oocyte vitelline membrane. Sperm were labeled with a fluorescent dye and used to fertilize zona‐free oocytes. Sperm–oocyte complexes were either lysed immediately, or following covalent cross‐linking of proteins with dibromobimane. The cross‐linking reagent serves the critical function of covalently linking proteins together so that they will remain as a unit through lysis of the cells and 2‐D gel analysis, and which can be subsequently identified by mass spectrometry. Lysates were electrophoretically run on the same 2‐D gel. The comparison of uncross‐linked and cross‐linked protein spots revealed that some proteins shifted position based on binding. These spots were picked and proteins identified by mass spectrometry. These results provide a list of specific sperm proteins that interact with oocyte membrane proteins and establish a group of candidate ligands, one or more of which may be responsible for induction of outside‐in signaling resulting in oocyte activation and fusion of the gametes.