Fertilization Discovery Reveals New Role for the Egg

November 13, 2019 by seg2z@virginia.edu

An unexpected discovery about fertilization from the lab of CIC member, Kodi Ravichandran, reveals new insights on how sperm and egg fuse and could have major implications for couples battling infertility – and may lead to a future male contraceptive.  The finding has the potential both to boost the success rate of in-vitro fertilization and reduce its cost. “The infertility experts here at UVA are very excited about this,” said researcher Jeffrey J. Lysiak, PhD. “This tells us a lot about fundamental biology, but we think it could also have important clinical applications.”

The finding recasts the role of the egg in the fertilization process. The old notion of the egg as a passive partner for sperm entry is out. Instead, the researchers found, there are molecular players on the surface of the egg that bind with a corresponding substance on the sperm to facilitate the fusion of the two. “High school biology taught us a very sperm-centric version of fertilization,” said  Kodi Ravichandran, PhD. “And now it’s very clear that it is a dynamic process where both the sperm and egg are equally and actively involved in the ultimate biological goal of achieving fertilization.”

To read the UVA Newsroom article, click here…….

To read the Nature Communications article, click here….