Fertilization in mouse does not require terminal galactose or N-acetylglucosamine on the zona pellucida glycans

Suzannah A. Williams, Lijun Xia, Richard D. Cummings, Rodger P. McEver, Pamela Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Fertilization in mammals requires sperm to bind to the zona pellucida (ZP) that surrounds the egg. Galactose (Gal) or N-acetylglucosamine (GIcNAc) residues on the glycans of ZP protein 3 (ZP3) have been implicated as mouse sperm receptors. However, Mgat1-/- eggs with modified N-glycans lacking terminal Gal and GlcNAc residues are fertilized. To determine if Gal and GlcNAc on O-glycans of the ZP are required for fertilization, a conditional allele of the T-synthase gene (T-synF) was generated. T-syn encodes core 1 β1,3-galactosyltransferase 1 (T-synthase), which initiates the synthesis of core-1-derived O-glycans, the only O-glycans on mouse ZP3. T-synF/F:ZP3Cre females in which T-synF was deleted at the beginning of oogenesis generated eggs lacking core-1-derived O-glycans. Nevertheless, T-synF/F:ZP3Cre females were fertile and their eggs bound sperm similarly to controls. In addition, T-syn-/- embryos generated from T-syn null eggs developed until -E12.5. Thus, core-1-derived O-glycans are not required for blastogenesis, implantation, or development prior to midgestation. Moreover, T-syn-/ -Mgat1-/- eggs lacking complex and hybrid N-glycans as well as core-1-derived O-glycans were fertilized. The combined data show that mouse ZP3 does not require terminal Gal or GlcNAc on either N- or O-glycans for fertilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1349
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2007


  • Fertilization
  • N-glycans
  • O-glycans
  • T-synthase
  • Zona pelucida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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