The molecular players of sperm-egg fusion in mammals

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2006 Apr;17(2):254-63. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2006.02.012. Epub 2006 Mar 2.


Fertilization includes a series of cellular interactions culminating with the fusion of gamete membranes, creating a zygote. Two ADAM proteins present on sperm, fertilin beta and cyritestin, drew much attention. However, gene deletion in mice showed that fusion can happen in their absence. The presence of the integrin alpha6beta1 on egg, a putative fertilin beta receptor, is also dispensable. In contrast, sperm lacking Izumo, a molecule with a single Ig domain, are unable to fuse. On the egg side, a role for GPI-anchored molecules has been shown, and in mice lacking both tetraspanins CD9 and CD81 fertilization is completely blocked.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ADAM Proteins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Female
  • Integrin alpha6beta1 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Sperm-Ovum Interactions*
  • Tetraspanin 29


  • Antigens, CD
  • Cd9 protein, mouse
  • Integrin alpha6beta1
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Tetraspanin 29
  • ADAM Proteins