Fertility: 2 proteins explain the mystery of fertilisation

Publié le : 18 April 2014

 Today, Cambridge scientists (United Kingdom) published a study in the scientific journal, Nature, highlighting the role of two proteins, namely Izuma and Juno, in the fertilisation process. This paves the way for medically assisted procreation for women presenting with fertility problems and for masculine contraception.

Izumo is the protein (discovered in 2005) located in the membrane of spermatozoa, which allows them to fuse with the oocyte membrane. Its feminine counterpart has just been identified. This is the Juno protein found on the surface of the oocyte. Scientists have shown that fertilisation begins with the interaction of these two proteins. This has been confirmed by experiments conducted in mice.

The scientists are now focusing on women with fertility problems in order to establish whether weakness in the Juno receptor could be responsible for infertility. In this case, genetic screening would confirm the origin of the problem in women and MAP treatment could be adapted accordingly. From the masculine perspective, if Izumo is essential for fusion between the gametes, then this protein could pave the way for a contraceptive vaccine.

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