To understand the architecture of mammalian Zona Pellucida matrix surrounding Oocytes.
||To understand the architecture of mammalian Zona Pellucida matrix surrounding Oocytes.|
||Suresh Banjara <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
||2023-09-07 – 2024-04-01|
Fertilization is a precise process in which an egg (Oocyte) allows only one sperm to fuse with it to form a new cell (zygote). This exclusivity is made possible by a protective layer around the egg called Zona Pellucida (ZP), which acts like a shield during the early stages of fertilization. This layer is mainly made up of ZP module proteins, specifically named as ZP1, ZP2, and ZP3 in the case of mice. Each of these proteins have N-terminal signal sequence, ZP domains (N-terminus and C-terminus) and other structural elements along with glycosylation sites.
These proteins come together to form polymers that create a protective meshwork around egg. However, the exact arrangement or the architecture is yet to be known.
In humans, mutations in these ZP genes can lead to female infertility, where the ZP layer becomes very thin or disappears. But despite our knowledge, we do not have detailed information of how these proteins come together to form the protective layer.
Our goal is to understand how this layer is structured. We use special techniques like cryo-EM (SPA), cryo-Focused Ion Beam and cryo-Electron Tomography to take very thin slices of this protective layer and examine them in detail to uncover their organization. For the purpose it is very important for us to access Berzelius supercomputing cluster packaged with cryo-EM image processing software.