We describe a solid-phase assay that has permitted further analysis of zona pellucida glycoprotein, ZP3, as sperm receptor and acrosome reaction-inducer during fertilization in mice. The assay employs silica beads that contain epoxy groups to which purified, mouse oocyte ZP3 is covalently linked (ZP3-beads). ZP3-beads were characterized, e.g. by whole-mount autoradiography and flow cytofluorometry, incubated with capacitated mouse sperm under a variety of conditions, and the extent of sperm binding determined by light microscopy. Results of experiments presented suggest the following: (1) sperm bind specifically to ZP3-beads, but not to silica beads either exposed to 2-aminoethanol or derivatized with oocyte ZP2, fetuin or bovine serum albumin. (2) In nearly all cases, only one sperm binds per ZP3-bead and binding occurs via the sperm head. (3) The extent of sperm binding to ZP3-beads is dependent on ZP3 and sperm concentrations, as well as on incubation time and temperature. (4) Sperm binding to ZP3-beads is unaffected by antibodies directed against ZP3, but is inhibited in a reversible manner by treatment of ZP3-beads with galactose oxidase. (5) Only acrosome-intact sperm bind to ZP3-beads but, once bound, sperm can undergo the acrosome reaction, which results in their release from ZP3-beads. (6) Islet-activating protein and 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, two inhibitors of the zona pellucida-induced acrosome reaction, prevent sperm bound to ZP3-beads from undergoing the acrosome reaction. These results confirm and extend previous studies of sperm-egg interaction in mice, and suggest that the solid-phase assay will be useful for both cellular and biochemical analyses of mammalian fertilization.
- © 1989 by Company of Biologists