Three sulfated glycoproteins (ZP-1, ZP-2, and ZP-3) make up the zona pellucida, an extracellular glycocalyx that surrounds mouse oocytes. We have produced five monoclonal antibodies specific to the zona. All five immunoprecipitated ZP-2, and in addition, two of the antibodies immunoprecipitated ZP-3. This suggests the presence of either a common antigenic site or one made up in part by each of the two glycoproteins. The monoclonal antibodies bound to approximately 1.3 X 10(8) binding sites per ovulated mouse egg which represents 2% of the total number of ZP-2 molecules present in the zona. ZP-2 appeared to be present throughout the zona and indirect immunofluorescence revealed a fibrous pattern with no evidence of localization. Furthermore, this pattern of distribution, which was identical for all five monoclones, remained constant after fertilization at the two-cell embryo stage. Laser photobleaching demonstrated that ZP-2 is stably integrated in the extracellular matrix of the zona pellucida. No mouse tissue other than the ovary contained ZP-2 and ZP-2 is antigenically distinct from other previously described extracellular matrix proteins.

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