Clin Exp Reprod Med.  2023 Sep;50(3):154-159. 10.5653/cerm.2023.05981.

Ovastacin: An oolemma protein that cleaves the zona pellucida to prevent polyspermy

  • 1Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Eulji University, Seongnam, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Senior Healthcare, Graduate School of Eulji University, Seongnam, Republic of Korea
  • 3Eulji Medi-Bio Research Institute (EMBRI), Eulji University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea


Monospermy occurs in the process of normal fertilization where a single sperm fuses with the egg, resulting in the formation of a diploid zygote. During the process of fertilization, the sperm must penetrate the zona pellucida (ZP), the outer layer of the egg, to reach the egg’s plasma membrane. Once a sperm binds to the ZP, it undergoes an acrosomal reaction, which involves the release of enzymes from the sperm’s acrosome that help it to penetrate the ZP. Ovastacin is one of the enzymes that is involved in breaking down the ZP. Studies have shown that ovastacin is necessary for the breakdown of the ZP and for successful fertilization to occur. However, the activity of ovastacin is tightly regulated to ensure that only one sperm can fertilize the egg. One way in which ovastacin helps to prevent polyspermy (the fertilization of an egg by more than one sperm) is by rapidly degrading the ZP after a sperm has penetrated it. This makes it difficult for additional sperm to penetrate the ZP and fertilize the egg. Ovastacin is also thought to play a role in the block to polyspermy, a mechanism that prevents additional sperm from fusing with the egg’s plasma membrane after fertilization has occurred. In summary, the role of ovastacin in monospermic fertilization is to help ensure that only one sperm can fertilize the egg, while preventing polyspermy and ensuring successful fertilization.


Contraceptive; Oocytes; Ovastacin; Polyspermy; Zona pellucida
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