Cx37 and Cx43 localize to zona pellucida in mouse ovarian follicles

Cell Commun Adhes. Jan-Apr 2006;13(1-2):61-77. doi: 10.1080/15419060600631748.


In the ovarian follicle, granulosa cells adjacent to the oocyte extend processes through the zona pellucida matrix, and these projections establish gap junctions both with the oocyte and with neighboring transzonal projections. The identity of connexins contributing to gap junctions between transzonal projections has not been extensively studied. Here, we examined the expression pattern of Cx37 and Cx43 in mouse zona pellucida using multiple connexin-specific antibodies. Immunofluorescence staining revealed abundant Cx37 and Cx43 puncta within the zona pellucida of both preantral and antral follicles. Cx37 persisted in the zona pellucida of mature follicles up to 5 h after an ovulatory stimulus whereas Cx43 was reduced in the zona pellucida by 3 h after an ovulatory stimulus. We suggest that in addition to its role in oocyte-granulosa cell communication, Cx37 could enable a distinct communication pathway between those granulosa cells that are in direct contact with the oocyte.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Connexin 43 / analysis*
  • Connexins / analysis*
  • Female
  • Gap Junctions / chemistry*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Ovarian Follicle / chemistry
  • Ovarian Follicle / ultrastructure
  • Recombinant Proteins / analysis
  • Zona Pellucida / chemistry
  • Zona Pellucida / ultrastructure*


  • Connexin 43
  • Connexins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • connexin 37
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins