Cracking the egg: increased complexity in the zona pellucida

S. J. Conner (Lead / Corresponding author), L. Lefièvre, D. C. Hughes, C. L. R. Barratt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


A functional zona pellucida is critical for both fertilization and the early stages of embryo development. Recent data from genomic and proteomic studies have questioned our simplistic view of the zona as being composed of three proteins whose functions are clearly defined. In the human, for example, the zona pellucida is composed of four proteins, not three. The increased complexity of the zona pellucida in humans and other species across the evolutionary tree now demands that we reconsider our reliance on the mouse model for understanding early fertilization events. Additionally, we are now well placed to examine, for the first time, potential defects in zona genes and their proteins associated with defined pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1152
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005


  • Animals
  • Egg Proteins/classification
  • Female
  • Fertilization
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female/genetics
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins/classification
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Cell Surface/classification
  • Species Specificity
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Zona Pellucida/chemistry
  • Zona Pellucida Glycoproteins


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