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Evol Dev 2004 Jan 01;63:134-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2004.04019.x.
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Major components of a sea urchin block to polyspermy are structurally and functionally conserved.

Wong JL , Wessel GM .

One sperm fusing with one egg is requisite for successful fertilization; additional sperm fusions are lethal to the embryo. Because sperm usually outnumber eggs, evolution has selected for mechanisms that prevent this polyspermy by immediately modifying the egg extracellular matrix. We focus here on the contribution of cortical granule contents in the sea urchin block to polyspermy to begin to understand how well this process is conserved. We identified each of the major constituents of the fertilization envelope in two species of seaurchins, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and Lytechinus variegatus, that diverged 30 to 50 million years ago. Our results show that the five major structural components of the fertilization envelope, derived from the egg cortical granules, are semiconserved. Most of these orthologs share sequence identity and encode multiple low-density lipoprotein receptor type A repeats or CUB domains but at least two contain radically different carboxy-terminal repeats. Using a new association assay, we also show that these major structural components are functionally conserved during fertilization envelope construction. Thus, it seems that this population of female reproductive proteins has retained functional motifs while gaining significant sequence diversity-two opposing paths that may reflect cooperativity among the proteins that compose the fertilization envelope.

PubMed ID: 15099301
Article link: Evol Dev

Genes referenced: ago1b LOC100887844 LOC100891068 LOC582189