Structure and function of the mammalian egg zona pellucida

Paul Wassarman, Jie Chen, Natalie Cohen, Eveline Litscher, Chengyu Liu, Huayu Qi, Zev Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The zona pellucida is a thick extracellular coat that surrounds all mammalian eggs and preimplantation embryos. The zona pellucida supports communication between oocytes and follicle cells during oogenesis; protects oocytes, eggs, and embryos during development, and regulates interactions between ovulated eggs and free-swimming sperm during and following fertilization. Mutant females that produce eggs that lack a zona pellucida are infertile. The functions of the zona pellucida during fertilization now can be ascribed to certain of its glycoproteins. Here we describe some aspects of zona pellucida structure and function as they relate to mammalian fertilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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