Species Variation in the Zona Pellucida

  • S. M. Skinner
  • B. S. Dunbar
Part of the Reproductive Biology book series (RBIO)


The mammalian fertilization process is an intricate one which involves many aspects of species specificity. Before the fusion of gamete membranes occurs and fertilization is achieved, a number of closely synchronized events must take place. In order to monitor and ultimately to control this process, it is necessary to understand the fundamental nature as well as the timing of these events. Central to the success of fertilization is the ovulation of a mature ovum which is surrounded by a unique extracellular matrix, the zona pellucida (ZP). This glycoprotein matrix surrounds the mammalian oocyte at a time early in follicular development and remains intact until the eventual implantation of the fertilized ovum. After ovulation, the sperm must attach to and penetrate the ZP. Over the past decade, much attention has been brought to studies which have demonstrated that immunization with ZP glycoproteins results in a dramatic reduction in fertility. In order for us to appreciate the mechanisms by which this immunologically induced infertility occurs, it is essential to understand the biochemical and functional properties of the ZP throughout ovarian follicular development.


Zona Pellucida Follicular Development Cortical Granule Dolichos Biflorus Agglutinin Zona Pellucida Protein 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. Skinner
    • 1
  • B. S. Dunbar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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