Helping with Her Coat

Science's STKE  08 May 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 81, pp. tw9
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.81.tw9

Phospholipase C (PLC) hydrolyzes a membrane phospholipid to produce two second messengers that can, in turn, function in cellular signaling pathways. Fukami et al. examined the PLCδ4 isoform, which is localized to the acrosomal region of sperm. When the PLCδ4 gene was disrupted in mice, the resultant males were either sterile or produced very few progeny. The sperm were unable to interact appropriately with the egg coat, the zona pellucida. Because PLCδ4 is essential for an early step in mammalian fertilization, greater insight into the function of this protein may aid in understanding human fertility and have application to contraception.

K. Fukami, K. Nakao, T. Inoue, Y. Kataoka, M. Kurokawa, R.A. Fissore, K. Nakamura, M. Katsuki, K. Mikoshiba, N. Yoshida, T. Takenawa, Requirement of phospholipase Cδ4 for the zona pellucida-induced acrosome reaction. Science 292, 920-923. [Abstract] [Full Text]