Vitelline membrane

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Vitelline membrane
Latin membrana vitellina
Gray's p.45
MeSH A16.631.886
Anatomical terminology

The vitelline membrane is a structure directly adjacent to the outer surface of the plasma membrane of an ovum. It is composed mostly of protein fibers, with protein receptors needed for sperm binding which, in turn, are bound to sperm plasma membrane receptors. The species-specificity between these receptors contributes to prevention of breeding between different species.

It is called zona pellucida in mammals.

As soon as the spermatozoon fuses with the ovum, signal transduction occurs, resulting in an increase of cytoplasmic calcium ions. This itself triggers the cortical reaction, which results in depositing several substances onto the vitelline membrane through exocytosis of the cortical granules, transforming it into a hard layer called the “fertilization membrane”, which serves as a barrier inaccessible to other spermatozoa. This phenomenon is the slow block to polyspermy.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)