Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Restricting the gene pool

15.10.2003


Nature has evolved clever ways to prevent animals from different species from successfully reproducing. As published in the upcoming issue of Genes & Development, molecular biologists at UC Irvine are gaining a better understanding as to how.



In the October 15th issue, Drs. Noriko Kamei and Charles Glabe report on the identification of a receptor on the surface of sea urchin eggs that regulates the species-specific adhesion of sperm.

External fertilization can be risky business, especially for marine animals whose sperm is released into an aqueous environment. Thus, there are several barriers to prevent cross-fertilization between different species of sea urchins, or even, say, sea horse sperm from fertilizing sea urchin eggs. The recognition of egg and sperm involves a number of steps (sperm attraction, activation, and adhesion to the egg surface), each of which serves as a checkpoint to restrict the gene pool to individuals of the same species.


Over 25 years ago, scientists discovered that at the tip of sea urchin sperm exists a protein that mediates binding of the sperm to the egg – a protein they named "bindin." Each species of sea urchin has its own unique version of bindin, and scientists hypothesized that each species’ egg must, likewise, have a similarly unique bindin receptor on its surface. Since then, species-specific sperm adhesive proteins and egg receptors have been identified in other animals, including mammals, but the identity of the sea urchin egg bindin receptor has remained elusive. Until now.

Drs. Kamei and Glabe have identified the species-specific sea urchin egg bindin receptor, which they call EBR1 (egg bindin receptor 1). Drs. Kamei and Glabe searched through complementary DNA sequences from ovaries of two different species of sea urchins (S. franciscanus and S. purpuratus, or Sf and Sp, respectively). The scientists were looking for sequences that were present in one species but not the other, and therefore might encode a species-specific protein. Of the four Sf-specific DNA sequences they found, only one was sufficiently large to encode the expected size of the bindin receptor.

Drs. Kamei and Glabe undertook several different experimental approaches to test the validity of this putative bindin receptor, and all roads led to the same conclusion: EBR1 is the long sought after egg bindin receptor. Structural analysis revealed that while Sf-EBR1 and Sp-EBR1 proteins share a conserved core domain, they also have a unique region that accounts for the proteins’ species-specific activity.

"Having the sperm and egg molecules (bindin/EBR1) in hand will allow study at a molecular level of how sperm and egg interact to make fertile offspring. Such insights could provide an understanding of common structural features and functional principals of molecules involved in mammalian gamete interactions. It also may she light on how new species evolved," explains Dr. Kamei.

Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cshl.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>