Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have obtained the first 3D snapshots of a sperm protein attached to a complementary egg coat protein at the beginning of fertilisation. The study, which reveals a common egg protein architecture that is involved in the interaction with sperm in both mollusc and mammal, is published in the respected scientific journal Cell. By transmitting the genetic information to the next generation and marking the beginning of a new life, the encounter between female and male gametes at fertilisation is one of the most fundamental processes in biology. Although egg and sperm were first observed centuries ago, how sperm recognises the coat of the egg and penetrates it has remained unknown. Using X-ray crystallographic data collected at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility ESRF , Luca Jovine's research team at Karolinska Institutet first visualised the sperm-interacting regions of two egg coat proteins, ZP2 in mammals including humans and VERL in the marine mollusc abalone a classic model system of invertebrate fertilisation.
Sperm’s Journey to the Egg – How Sperm Meets Egg with Pictures
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A woman's due date is calculated from the first day of her last menstrual period. Conception occurs two weeks from that day -- that's when you're truly considered to be pregnant! Millions of sperm swim upstream on the quest to fertilize an egg. Only one successfully penetrates the egg, forming the genetic makeup that will determine the sex, physical appearance, intelligence, and personality of the baby. Watch the ovulation process occur by clicking on the video above. Chances are you have no idea you're pregnant yet -- but your body is already hard at work. By the 4th week of your pregnancy, the ball of cells that is developing into your baby is the size of a poppy seed.
Sperm Warfare (Or: Why it Takes 1 Billion Sperm to Make One Zygote)
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