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Flowering plant sperm contains a cytosolic soluble protein factor which can trigger calcium oscillations in mouse eggs.

Research paper by S T ST Li, X Y XY Huang, F Z FZ Sun

Indexed on: 11 Sep '01Published on: 11 Sep '01Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications



Abstract

There is evidence showing that the sperm-induced Ca(2+) oscillations in mammalian eggs at fertilization are triggered by a sperm-derived protein factor. It was established recently that the activity of the putative sperm protein in causing Ca(2+) oscillations in mammalian eggs is not species-specific in vertebrates (1, 16). Here we report that cytosolic soluble extracts derived from flowering plant sperms in Brassica campestris can also induce fertilization-like Ca(2+) oscillations when microinjected into mouse eggs. The factor responsible for inducing Ca(2+) oscillations in the plant sperm was sperm-specific and heat- or trypsin-labile. Eight to ten sperm equivalents of the plant sperm extracts had enough activity to trigger Ca(2+) oscillations in mouse eggs. Our study suggests that, although plant and mammal are evolutionary divergent species, the activity of the putative sperm protein factor in triggering Ca(2+) signaling in mammalian eggs is not specific to the animal kingdom.