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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2019) 3 RDRRDR1 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.3.001

REDR1994 Reproduction in Domestic Ruminants III Maternal-Embryo Interactions (9 abstracts)

Oviduct proteins in fertilization and early embryo development

CD Nancarrow & JL Hill

CSIRO Division of Animal Production, Clunies Ross Street, Prospect, NSW, Locked Bag 1, Delivery Centre, Blacktown, 2148, Australia

The oviduct controls the environment in which the gametes are transported and fuse, and in which embryonic development begins. The ultrastructural topography of the ampulla and isthmus is similar, consisting of ciliated and secretory cells, but a different array of proteins is secreted by each segment along with various serum components. Amino acids are selectively secreted by the oviduct; these amino acids probably interact with the gametes or embryo to facilitate the processes of fertilization and development. An oviduct-specific glycoprotein is synthesized by the ampulla of sheep and cattle in response to oestrogen and secreted mainly from day – 1 to day 3 of the ovarian cycle. This oestrus-associated glycoprotein (EGP) has a variable molecular mass of 80–97 kDa and a pI value ranging from 4.7 to 5.5. The bovine (b) and ovine (o) EGP genes are 95.5% identical and consist of 1560 base pairs encoding 519 amino acids containing one N-linked and several O-linked glycosylation sites. The terminal glycosides are N-acetylglucosamine and galactose- N-acetylgalactosamine for bEGP, and fucose, galactose and sialic acid residues are also identified for oEGP. EGP binds to zona pellucida and blastomere membranes, but evidence for EGP binding to sperm membranes is equivocal. After in vitro fertilization the proportion of sheep oocytes cleaving was increased in the presence of oEGP, but when single-cell embryos were cultured with oEGP, these cleavage rates were reduced. In addition, consistent positive effects of oEGP were observed on blastocyst formation. Elaboration of the mechanism of synthesis of EGP, its action and its role in fertilization and embryo development is important for our understanding of the events of early pregnancy.

© 1995 Journals of Reproduction and Fertility Ltd

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