The Respiratory Burst of Fertilization

  • Eric E. Turner
  • Bennett M. Shapiro


The activation of a transient burst of cellular respiration was first studied using the system of fertilization as developed in the early part of this century by Warburg,1,2 Shearer,3 and others. Biochemists were attracted to the fertilized egg as a key to cellular mechanisms, for the response of an egg to the fertilizing sperm is one of the most dramatic events in biology. Marine invertebrates have been the classic system for the study of these phenomena, because of the large quantity of gametes that can be obtained, and since fertilization occurs in the open sea under conditions that can be readily reproduced in the laboratory. If the fusion of the plasma membranes of egg and sperm is considered the moment of fertilization, the events that follow can be divided into two broad categories: early events, which occur within a few minutes of fertilization and consist primarily of mechanisms to prevent the entry of additional sperm; and later events, which follow the establishment of a block to polyspermy and initiate the developmental program.


Respiratory Burst Pyridine Nucleotide Cortical Granule Reduce Pyridine Nucleotide Fertilization Membrane 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric E. Turner
    • 1
  • Bennett M. Shapiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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