Characterization of Equine Phospholipase C Zeta: A Review and Preliminary Results on Expression Defects in Subfertile Stallions Academic Article uri icon


  • In all mammalian species studied thus far, fertilization results in a series of intracellular Ca 2+ ([Ca 2+] i) increases, referred to as oscillations, responsible for driving oocyte activation and embryonic development. Current evidence supports the notion that sperm-borne phospholipase C zeta (PLCZ) is responsible for the initiation of these [Ca 2+] i oscillations. Although this appears to be a highly conserved mechanism for oocyte activation, differences in PLCZ sequence, activity, and expression do exist among different species. Herein, we summarize the information supporting PLCZ as the oocyte-activating factor in mammals and present our current knowledge regarding the characterization of this protein in the horse. The equine sequence yielded a protein of high relative [Ca 2+] i-releasing activity. Equine PLCZ was expressed over the head region overlying the acrosome, equatorial segment, connecting piece between the head and midpiece, and on the principal piece of the flagellum of stallion sperm. Equine PLCZ expressed both over the head and tail sperm regions was catalytically active, with the latter representing a characteristic unique to the horse. We also present preliminary data in subfertile stallions displaying PLCZ expression defects, although further research is required to establish a clear association between these defects and fertility problems in the horse. In summary, the information presented raises the questions of whether equine PLCZ could play diverse roles in sperm physiology and/or become a marker for the evaluation of stallion fertility, both of which are worthy of further investigation. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bedford-Guaus, S. J., McPartlin, L. A., & Varner, D. D.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • August 2012