Sperm-derived WW domain-binding protein, PAWP, elicits calcium oscillations and oocyte activation in humans and mice.

Research paper by Mahmoud M Aarabi, Hanna H Balakier, Siamak S Bashar, Sergey I SI Moskovtsev, Peter P Sutovsky, Clifford L CL Librach, Richard R Oko

Indexed on: 28 Jun '14Published on: 28 Jun '14Published in: FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology


Mammalian zygotic development is initiated by sperm-mediated intracellular calcium oscillations, followed by activation of metaphase II-arrested oocytes. Sperm postacrosomal WW binding protein (PAWP) fulfils the criteria set for an oocyte-activating factor by inducing oocyte activation and being stored in the perinuclear theca, the sperm compartment whose content is first released into oocyte cytoplasm during fertilization. However, proof that PAWP initiates mammalian zygotic development relies on demonstration that it acts upstream of oocyte calcium oscillations. Here, we show that PAWP triggers calcium oscillations and pronuclear formation in human and mouse oocytes similar to what is observed during intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Most important, sperm-induced calcium oscillations are blocked by coinjection of a competitive inhibitor, derived from the WWI domain-binding motif of PAWP, implying the requirement of sperm PAWP and an oocyte-derived WWI domain protein substrate of PAWP for successful fertilization. Sperm-delivered PAWP is, therefore, a unique protein with a nonredundant role during human and mouse fertilization, required to trigger zygotic development. Presented data confirm our previous findings in nonmammalian models and suggest potential applications of PAWP in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.-