Expression of envelope proteins of endogeneous C-type retrovirus on the surface of mouse and human oocytes at fertilization

Virus Genes. 1999;18(2):115-20. doi: 10.1023/a:1008004332513.


Retrovirus genomes express, among other products, the envelop (env) proteins SU (gp70) and TM (p15E). They coexist at the viral surface membrane and are able to promote immunosuppression and membrane fusion. In mouse oocytes, endogeneous retroviruses (ERV) genomes are expressed at fertilization, and antigen epitopes of the Moloney murine leukemia virus (MuLV) env protein gp70 are recognized in the cytoplasm of the oocytes before but not after fertilization. By using a panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) raised against env components, we checked with laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) whether gp70 and p15E were expressed also on the oocyte surface membrane (oolemma). Since we found that both mouse and human unfertilized oocytes expressed these ERV proteins on the oolemma and that the expression enfeebled significantly after fertilization, we assume that ERV genomes could play a role at the sperm-egg binding and fusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fertilization
  • Gammaretrovirus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Oocytes / virology*
  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic / biosynthesis*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Zygote / virology*


  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • p15E protein, Murine leukemia virus