Requirement of CD9 on the egg plasma membrane for fertilization.
CD9 is an integral membrane protein associated with integrins and other membrane proteins. Mice lacking CD9 were produced by homologous recombination. Both male and female CD9-/- mice were born healthy and grew normally. However, the litter size from CD9-/- females was less than 2% of that of the wild type. In vitro fertilization experiments indicated that the cause of this infertility was due to the failure of sperm-egg fusion. When sperm were injected into oocytes with assisted microfertilization techniques, however, the fertilized eggs developed to term. These results indicate that CD9 has a crucial role in sperm-egg fusion.