Fertilin, a member of the ADAM family, is found on the plasma membrane of mammalian sperm. Sperm from mice lacking fertilin beta were shown to be deficient in sperm-egg membrane adhesion, sperm-egg fusion, migration from the uterus into the oviduct, and binding to the egg zona pellucida. Egg activation was unaffected. The results are consistent with a direct role of fertilin in sperm-egg plasma membrane interaction. Fertilin could also have a direct role in sperm-zona binding or oviduct migration; alternatively, the effects on these functions could result from the absence of fertilin activity during spermatogenesis.
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