Medaka pp 365-378 | Cite as

Molecular Evolution of Teleostean Hatching Enzymes and Their Egg Envelope Digestion Mechanism: An Aspect of Co-Evolution of Protease and Substrate


At the hatching of medaka embryos, the egg envelope is completely solubilized by two proteases, high choriolytic enzyme (HCE, or choriolysin H) and low choriolytic enzyme (LCE, or choriolysin L). HCE causes the egg envelope to swell, and LCE solubilizes the swollen envelope. Molecular phylogenetic analysis has shown that the hatching enzyme was originally composed of a single enzyme, and during evolution, the hatching system consisting of two types of enzymes was established by duplication and diversification of the genes. We compared the egg envelope digestion mechanism between zebrafish having the single enzyme, ZHE1, and medaka having the two enzymes, HCE and LCE. The digestion manner of ZHE1 was highly homologous to that of HCE with respect to swelling of the egg envelope. The cross-species digestion experiment using enzymes and substrates of both zebrafish and medaka revealed that the substrate specificity of ZHE1 is quite similar to that of HCE, whereas the specificity of LCE is different from those of ZHE1 and HCE. Further analysis showed that ZHE1 and HCE maintain the character of an ancestral hatching enzyme, swelling of the egg envelope, and that LCE acquires a new function, the complete digestion of the HCE-swollen egg envelope. Considering several factors such as the origin of egg envelope protein and the spawning environment of eggs, we discuss a co-evolutionary aspect of the hatching enzyme and egg envelope.


Black Rockfish Hatch Enzyme Zona Pellucida Domain Hatch Gland Cell High Choriolytic Enzyme 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Materials and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and TechnologySophia UniversityChiyoda-kuJapan
  2. 2.Graduate Program of Biological ScienceGraduate School of Science and Technology, Sophia UniversityChiyoda-kuJapan
  3. 3.Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan

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