Author(s): Neill AT, Vacquier VD
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Abstract Sea urchins have long been a model system for the study of fertilization. Much has been learned about how sea urchin sperm locate and fertilize the egg. Sperm and eggs are spawned simultaneously into the surrounding seawater. Sperm signaling pathways lead to downstream events that ensure fertilization. Upon spawning, sperm must acquire motility and then they must swim towards or respond to the egg in some way. Finally, they must undergo a terminal exocytotic event known as the acrosome reaction that allows the sperm to bind to the vitelline layer of the egg and then to fuse with the egg plasma membrane. Motility is stimulated by exposure to seawater, while later events are orchestrated by factors from the egg. The sperm signaling pathways are exquisitely tuned to bring the sperm to the egg, bind, and fuse the two cells as quickly as possible.
This article was published in Reproduction
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology