A putative ATP-activated Na+ channel involved in sperm-induced fertilization

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Science  23 Jul 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5120, pp. 484-486
DOI: 10.1126/science.8392753


Extracellular application of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to defolliculated Xenopus laevis oocytes activated a saturating inward current with a maximal amplitude E(max) of 2.4 +/- 0.2 microamperes and an apparent Michaelis constant of 197.6 micromolar. The current was carried predominantly by sodium ions and potently inhibited by amiloride, guanosine triphosphate (GTP), and its nonhydrolyzable analogs guanosine 5'-[beta,gamma-imido]triphosphate (GppNHp) and guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate). Likewise, in vitro fertilization using mature eggs and Xenopus sperm was inhibited by amiloride, GTP, and GppNHp. Hence, an ATP receptor on the egg membrane may be the recipient target for ATP originating in sperm, suggesting that an ATP-induced increase in sodium permeability mediates the initial sperm to egg signal in the fertilization process.