Molecular Genetics of the Mouse Zona Pellucida: Implications for Fertilization and Early Development
Pre-implantation development in mammals begins with the one-cell zygote and continues through to the formation of the blastocyst which ultimately implants on the wall of the uterus. The maternal genome plays an important role in gene expression not only during oogenesis but also during early development. There are few genes which are specific to this period of embryogenesis (4–6, 19) and even fewer with known biological functions. However, the genes that code for proteins of the mouse zona pellucida are an exception. They are expressed during oogenesis in a coordinate manner and the production of their protein products is turned off as the oocyte matures even though biological roles of the zona proteins persist into pre-implantation development. By studying the genes coding for the zona proteins we hope to learn more about mechanisms that control gene expression during oogenesis and early embryogenesis.
KeywordsZona Pellucida Passive Immunization Preimplantation Development Zona Protein Zona Pellucida Protein
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