|Synthetic sperm protein raises the chance for successful |
in vitro fertilization.
Having trouble getting pregnant, even with IVF? Here's some hope: A new research report published in The FASEB Journal, explains how scientists developed a synthetic version of a sperm-originated protein known as PAWP, which induced embryo development in human and mouse eggs similar to the natural triggering of embryo development by the sperm cell during fertilization.
To make their advance, the researchers injected transcripts coding for PAWP protein into human eggs, and the immediate fertilization events, including release of calcium inside the eggs, were investigated carefully. (The human eggs used in this study were donated by infertile women and consisted of immature eggs that were further matured in the laboratory and thus were not suitable for IVF.) The injected eggs were fixed before cell division. A similar protocol was used in mice where the PAWP protein was injected into the eggs.
The scientists found that when PAWP inhibitors were injected with the sperm cell into the eggs, a procedure known as ICSI in human infertility therapy, they blocked the sperm-induced fertilization. This is the first time that any sperm protein is shown to be susceptible to such an important inhibition effect.