A crucial step of fertilization is the sperm-egg interaction that allows the two gametes to fuse and create the zygote. In the mouse, CD9 on the egg and IZUMO1 on the sperm stand out as critical players, as −/− and −/− mice are healthy but infertile or severely subfertile due to defective sperm-egg interaction. Moreover, work on several nonmammalian organisms has identified some of the most intriguing candidates implicated in sperm-egg interaction. Understanding of gamete membrane interactions is advancing through characterization of in vivo and in vitro fertilization phenotypes, including insights from less robust phenotypes that highlight potential supporting (albeit not absolutely essential) players. An emerging theme is that there are varied roles for gamete molecules that participate in sperm-egg interactions. Such roles include not only functioning as fusogens, or as adhesion molecules for the opposite gamete, but also functioning through interactions in with other proteins to regulate membrane order and functionality.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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