▪ Abstract 

Many eukaryotic proteins share a sequence designated as the zona pellucida (ZP) domain. This structural element, present in extracellular proteins from a wide variety of organisms, from nematodes to mammals, consists of ∼260 amino acids with eight conserved cysteine (Cys) residues and is located close to the C terminus of the polypeptide. ZP domain proteins are often glycosylated, modular structures consisting of multiple types of domains. Predictions can be made about some of the structural features of the ZP domain and ZP domain proteins. The functions of ZP domain proteins vary tremendously, from serving as structural components of egg coats, appendicularian mucous houses, and nematode dauer larvae, to serving as mechanotransducers in flies and receptors in mammals and nonmammals. Generally, ZP domain proteins are present in filaments and/or matrices, which is consistent with the role of the domain in protein polymerization. A general mechanism for assembly of ZP domain proteins has been presented. It is likely that the ZP domain plays a common role despite its presence in proteins of widely diverse functions.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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