Sperm PLCζ: From structure to Ca2+ oscillations, egg activation and therapeutic potential

Michail Nomikos, Junaid Kashir, Karl Swann, F. Anthony Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Significant evidence now supports the assertion that cytosolic calcium oscillations during fertilization in mammalian eggs are mediated by a testis-specific phospholipase C (PLC), termed PLC-zeta (PLCζ) that is released into the egg following gamete fusion. Herein, we describe the current paradigm of PLCζ in this fundamental biological process, summarizing recent important advances in our knowledge of the biochemical and physiological properties of this enzyme. We describe the data suggesting that PLCζ has distinct features amongst PLCs enabling the hydrolysis of its substrate, phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) at low Ca2+ levels. PLCζ appears to be unique in its ability to target PIP2 that is present on intracellular vesicles. We also discuss evidence that PLCζ may be a significant factor in human fertility with potential therapeutic capacity.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)3609-3616
Number of pages8
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2013


  • Calcium signaling
  • Egg activation
  • Fertilization
  • Infertility
  • Phospholipase C (PLC)
  • Phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ)
  • Sperm


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