Sperm chemotaxis toward an egg is observed in many animals, and the control of sperm-attracting activity is thought to play an important role in ensuring fertilization. However, the mechanism underlying the release of a sperm attractant from an egg is still obscure. In this study, we examined the systems involved in the release of sperm-activating and sperm-attracting factor (SAAF), which is the sperm attractant of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Here, we show that the egg acquires sperm-attracting activity after germinal vesicle breakdown. Further, since the cytoplasmic extracts of immature oocytes exhibit no sperm-attracting activity, the SAAF in oocytes may be activated after germinal vesicle breakdown. We found 13 SAAF-binding proteins in an egg plasma membrane extract and identified five proteins by proteomic analysis: valosin-containing protein (VCP)/p97, proteasome alpha 2 subunit, MGC97756 protein, proteasome subunit Y, and beta-tubulin. In particular, the interaction between VCP/p97 and SAAF was confirmed by a pull-down assay. VCP/p97 is initially localized in the germinal vesicle, and during oocyte maturation, it shifts to the endoplasmic reticulum in the cortical regions. Thus, VCP/p97 is a potential modulator of SAAF release from the egg.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology