Localization and functional importance of a conserved zona pellucida 2 protein domain in the human and bovine ovary using monoclonal anti-ZP2 peptide antibodies.

PMID 14511786


In mammals, gamete recognition and sperm binding to the oocyte are mediated by the zona pellucida (ZP), an acellular coat surrounding the plasma membrane of the oocyte that consists of particular ZP proteins. The ZP2 protein mediates secondary sperm binding to the ZP. Its primary structures are highly conserved as revealed by cDNA cloning. In the present study, we investigated the localization of ZP2 in human and bovine ovaries and oocytes and the influence of monoclonal anti-ZP2 peptide antibodies upon bovine sperm-egg interactions. We generated a monoclonal anti-ZP2 synthetic peptide antibody, mAb ZP2-20, against a sequence that is strongly conserved in the mammalian ZP2 amino acid sequence. Specificity of mAb ZP2-20 was determined by ELISA and immunoblotting, respectively. Our results show that mAb ZP2-20 specifically detected the peptide used as an antigen and reacted with its corresponding protein antigen in human and bovine ovaries. In order to elucidate effects of mAb ZP2-20 upon bovine sperm-ZP binding, we used the competitive hemizona assay (cHZA) and found that the antibodies clearly inhibit sperm binding to the ZP. We conclude that (i). monoclonal antibodies against ZP2 peptides react with ZP proteins present in bovine and human ovaries and can be used as a specific marker for ZP2; and that (ii). mAb ZP2-20 detects a ZP2 epitope that is of functional relevance for sperm-ZP interactions.