The control of oxidant stress at fertilization

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Science  26 Apr 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5005, pp. 533-536
DOI: 10.1126/science.1850548


Metazoan eggs alter their coats after fertilization to protect the early embryo. In sea urchins, this modification consists of a rapid, coordinated set of noncovalent macromolecular assembly steps that are stabilized by protein cross-linking. The sea urchin egg uses an oxidative cross-linking reaction that requires hydrogen peroxide and a secreted peroxidase and thus faces the challenge of oxidant stress at the beginning of its development. Protection from the deleterious effects of this oxidative mechanism is afforded by regulation of the production and utilization of oxidizing species. This regulation requires a specific protein kinase C-activated oxidase and ovothiol, an intracellular antioxidant.

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