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Serizawa, Mami; Kinoshita, Mihoko; Rodler, Daniela; Tsukada, Akira; Ono, Hiroko; Yoshimura, Takashi; Kansaku, Norio and Sasanami, Tomohiro (2011): Oocytic expression of zona pellucida protein ZP4 in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). In: Animal Science Journal, Vol. 82, No. 2: pp. 227-235

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The avian perivitelline layer, an extracellular matrix homologous to thezona pellucida (ZP) of mammalian oocytes, is composed mainly by zonapellucida gene family glycoproteins. Our previous studies in Japanesequail have demonstrated that the matrix’s components, ZP3 and ZPD, aresynthesized in ovarian granulosa cells. Another component, ZP1, issynthesized in the liver. Recently, we demonstrated that another minorconstituent, ZP2 is produced in the oocytes of the immature follicles.In the present study, we report the isolation of complementary DNAencoding quail ZP4 and its expression and origin in the female birds. Byribonuclease protection assay and in situ hybridization, we demonstratedthat ZP4 transcripts were transcribed in the oocytes of small whitefollicles. The expression level of ZP4 decreased dramatically duringfollicular development, and the highest expression was observed in thesmall white follicles. Western blot analysis using the specific antibodyagainst ZP4 indicated that the immunoreactive 58.2 kDa protein waspresent in the lysates of the small white follicles. These resultsdemonstrate for the first time that the avian ZP4 is expressed in theoocyte, and that the expression pattern of the gene is similar to thatof ZP2.

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