Monday, 25 October 2010

Making babies

 Scientists have now discovered how a sperm cell binds an egg cell on a molecular level. This is of course fundamental in the creation of new individuals. The sperm binds to a receptor  called ZP3 in the extra-cellular region of the egg called zona pellucida (ZP). It is this receptor that has been mapped on a molecular level. This is one part, the other part that is likely to follow is molecular and structural research on the corresponding receptor on the sperm cell. This is research is important for understanding the mechanism of human reproduction, thus it is likely to have application in contraception or in helping childless couples reproduce.This research has been conducted by Luca Jovine's team at Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden) in cooperation with Tsukasa Matsuda at Nagoya University (Japan).

3D Structure of the receptor

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