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Gamete fusion is of considerable importance in reproductive events, as it determines the gamete pairs or chromosomes that the next generation will inherit. To preserve species specificity with an appropriate karyotype, the fusion between gametes requires regulatory mechanisms to ensure limited fusion competency. In many organisms, gamete surfaces are not smooth, but present constitutive or transient cellular protrusions suggested to be involved in gamete fusion. However, the molecular mechanisms and the factors essential for the membrane-membrane fusion process and cellular protrusion involvement have remained unclear. Recent advances in the identification and functional analysis of the essential factors for gamete interaction have revealed the molecular mechanisms underlying their activity regulation and dynamics. In homogametic fertilization, dynamic regulation of the fusion core machinery on cellular protrusions was precisely uncovered. In heterogametic fertilization, oocyte fusion competency was suggested to correlate with the compartmentalization of the fusion essential factor and protrusion formation. These findings shed light on the significance of cellular protrusions in gamete fusion as a physically and functionally specialized site for cellular fusion. In this review, we consider the developments in gamete interaction research in various species with different fertilization modes, highlighting the commonalities in the relationship between gamete fusion and cellular protrusions. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Yuhkoh Satouh, Naokazu Inoue. Involvement of cellular protrusions in gamete interactions. Seminars in cell & developmental biology. 2022 Sep;129:93-102

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PMID: 35370088

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