Molecular mechanisms of sperm-egg interactions and egg activation

Janice Perry Evans, G. S. Kopf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The binding of acrosome reacted mammalian sperm to the egg plasma membrane initiates a series of signaling events in the egg, termed 'egg activation', which lead to the completion of meiosis II and the initiation of a mitotic cell cycle. Many of these signaling events have characteristics of classical signal transduction events in somatic cells. Currently, there are two hypotheses for how sperm-induced egg activation is initiated. In the 'receptor' hypothesis, the fertilizing sperm interacts with a specific egg surface receptor, and this interaction leads to signal transduction and effector activation. In the 'fusion' hypothesis it is postulated that following fusion of the sperm and egg plasma membranes a soluble sperm- derived factor enters the egg's cytoplasm and activates pathways leading to egg activation. This chapter will provide an overview of the processes of cell-cell interaction and signal transduction leading to mammalian egg activation. It will concentrate on specific molecules proposed to be involved in sperm-egg interaction, signal transduction and effector mechanisms involved in egg activation, and a discussion of sperm-associated factors that have been implicated in egg activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-307
Number of pages11
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell adhesion
  • Disintegrin
  • Egg
  • Egg activation
  • Fertilin
  • Fertilization
  • Integrin
  • Membrane fusion
  • Sperm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Endocrinology


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