To begin embryonic development, the zygote must resume the cell cycle correctly after stimulation by sperm-borne oocyte-activating factors (SOAFs). The postacrosomal WW domain-binding protein (PAWP) is one of the strongest SOAF candidates and is widely conserved among eutherian mammals. It has been reported that the microinjection of recombinant PAWP protein can trigger not only Ca2 oscillations in mammalian eggs but also intracellular Ca2 release in amphibian eggs. It was also suggested that PAWP is involved in the formation of high-quality spermatozoa. On the other hand, negligible SOAF activity for PAWP cRNA has also been reported. In this study, we generated PAWP null mice and examined the fertilizing ability of male mice. Electron microscopy showed no aberrant morphology in spermatogenesis. Intracytoplasmic injection of a single spermatozoon from the null mouse line showed that depletion of PAWP elicited no quantitative differences in Ca2 oscillations or in subsequent development of the embryos. We conclude that PAWP does not play an essential role in mouse fertilization.
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Vol. 93 • No. 4