A lactosaminoglycan-associated antigen is associated with a carbohydrate moiety of all three zona pellucida (ZP) glycoproteins of pig and rabbit but is absent in the mouse and rat. A monoclonal antibody (PS1) recognizing this determinant was obtained by immunizing mice with a porcine ZP glycoprotein isoform purified by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Conditions known to remove O-linked or sialic acid carbohydrate moieties (alkaline reduction; O-glycanase or neuraminidase enzymatic cleavage) did not remove the carbohydrate epitope. However, treatment with endo-β-glycosidase, endoglycosidase F, or combinations of neuraminidase plus β-galactosidase, totally removed the determinant, indicating that it is associated with a poly-N-acetyllactosaminoglycan structure present on an N-linked oligosaccharide. Molecular morphology studies using immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy techniques demonstrate that the PS1 antigen is localized at the surface of the ZP. Confirmation of this localization was obtained through studies that show that this antibody will inhibit homologous sperm binding to the pig ZP. Additional analyses using modular contrast microscopy and immunocytochemistry demonstrate that this carbohydrate-associated antigen is localized in discrete layers throughout the ZP matrix. These studies are the first to demonstrate the presence of a lactosaminoglycan type carbohydrate moiety in all three ZP proteins using a monoclonal antibody that appears to be involved in sperm recognition and structural organization.
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