K E Mate

University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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Publications (38)76.75 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the potential contraceptive effect of immunisation with zona pellucida antigens, 50 free-ranging koalas were immunised with either porcine zonae pellucidae (PZP), recombinant brushtail possum ZP3 (recBP-ZP3) or buffer, in complete Freund's adjuvant. A single booster immunisation in incomplete Freund's adjuvant was administered 3-5 months later. Where possible animals were recaptured, reproductive status was assessed and blood was collected at 1-3-month intervals for the next 33 months. Forty-three koalas were recaptured at least three times allowing reliable assessments of their fertility. Fourteen animals were observed never to have a pouch young. Of the remaining 29 animals the reproductive productivity of PZP treated females was reduced compared with control and recBP-ZP3 treated females, in terms of both total number of young produced, and failure to produce further young in females of proven fertility. One month after the initial immunisation, serum antigen-specific antibody titres were higher in animals immunised with PZP or recBP-ZP3 compared to controls, and reached a plateau by 4 months. Antibody against the relevant immunising antigen was also detected in ovarian follicular fluid, uterine fluid and vaginal secretions. Epitope analysis suggested that immune responses other than antibodies directed against the ZP3 amino acid sequence were responsible for mediating infertility. The results demonstrate that the fertility of female koalas can be compromised by immunisation against zona pellucida antigens. However, unlike in the eastern grey kangaroo and the brushtail possum, immunisation with bacterial recombinant brushtail possum ZP3 did not compromise fertility in the koala.
    Journal of Reproductive Immunology 09/2009; 82(1):40-7. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the potential of a recombinant marsupial zona pellucida 3 protein as a contraceptive vaccine for the Eastern Grey kangaroo, a marsupial that is locally overabundant in several regions of eastern Australia. First, a pilot study using porcine zona pellucidae (PZP) demonstrated that ZP proteins, primarily the ZP3 component of PZP, are highly immunogenic in the grey kangaroo and produce a long-lasting humoral response to a single immunisation, as found in other marsupials. Immunisation with 300 microg of a non-glycosylated recombinant brushtail possum ZP3 (recBP-ZP3) protein in complete Freund's adjuvant produced a similar, significant and sustained antibody response, and none of the immunised kangaroos (n=7) produced offspring during the following breeding season compared with four out of the six control animals. An epitope analysis of the B-cell response to recBP-ZP3 using a brushtail possum ZP3 identified numerous B-cell epitope regions clustered around the N- and C-terminal regions of the protein. Two regions of interest for further fertility vaccine development based on their immunogenicity and fertility trials and functional studies in other species were found to be immunogenic. These results suggest that immunocontraception based on targeting the ZP3 protein within the zona pellucida may be an effective strategy for fertility reduction in Eastern Grey kangaroos.
    Journal of Reproductive Immunology 03/2009; 79(2):156-62. · 2.34 Impact Factor
  • N A Czarny, K E Mate, J C Rodger
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    ABSTRACT: The spermatozoa of most marsupials lack nuclear stabilising disulfide-bonded protamines found in eutherian mammals. However, disulfide stabilisation has been observed in the acrosome of macropodid (Macropus eugenii) and phalangerid (Trichosurus vulpecula) marsupials. As a result this organelle, which is normally fragile in eutherian mammals, is robust and able to withstand physical and chemical challenge in these marsupials. The present study examined acrosomal characteristics of the spermatozoa of three dasyurid marsupials; the fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata), eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) and northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus). In all species examined Bryan's staining demonstrated that significant acrosomal loss occurred following physical challenge with osmotic stress, cryopreservation without cryoprotectant and exposure to detergent (Triton-X). Bromobimane staining indicated that the acrosomes of dasyurids lacked stabilising disulfide bonds. As reported for the wallaby and possum, calcium ionophore (A23187) did not induce the acrosome reaction-like exocytosis in dasyurid spermatozoa but treatment with diacylglycerol (DiC8) caused significant acrosome loss at concentrations similar to those effective for other marsupials. The present study found that the spermatozoa of dasyurids are more sensitive to physical challenge than the previously-studied marsupials and we suggest that this is due to the absence of acrosomal stabilising disulfide bonds.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 02/2008; 20(2):295-302. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fertility control in the form of a zona pellucida (ZP)-based immunocontraceptive has shown potential as a humane form of control for overabundant marsupials including the brushtail possum and macropods. Further refinement and development of a ZP-based vaccine requires detailed knowledge of the protein structure and expression in order to ensure maximum efficacy and specificity. Sequencing and comparative analysis of the ZP3 protein from three marsupial orders in this study found a high overall level of conservation; within order Diprotodontia, the ZP3 protein is 86.9-98.9% identical. ZP3 identity falls to 56.6-57.2%, when the grey, short-tailed opossum (a Didelphimorphian) is compared to dasyurid and diprotodontan marsupials. This is similar to its amino acid identity with ZP3 from eutherian species (50.7-52.8%). Comparison of a 21 amino acid epitope in marsupial ZP3 that has shown contraceptive effects, reveals 95-100% identity between the four macropodid species, 81-86% amino acid identity between brushtail possum and the macropods and 67-71% identity between the diprotodontans and the fat-tailed dunnart (a dasyurid). This is comparable to the level of identity between related eutherian mammals. The expression pattern of three ZP genes during brushtail possum and tammar wallaby pouch young development was examined by RT-PCR. This analysis of ZP gene expression has confirmed that ZP mRNA transcription begins in the ovary during pouch young development by about 51 days of age. The presence of ZP transcripts at this stage in pouch young development suggests that marsupial ZP gene transcription begins before the onset of follicular development.
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 01/2008; 74(12):1581-9. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phosphorylation of tyrosine residues in cellular proteins is a major signal transduction event during sperm capacitation. In this study protein phosphorylation was monitored using a fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled antiphosphotyrosine monoclonal antibody and a flow cytometric procedure optimized for sperm. Using this technique, the correlation between tyrosine phosphorylation and sperm capacitation was examined in two marsupial species, the brushtail possum and the tammar wallaby and compared with that of ram spermatozoa. The levels of tyrosine phosphorylation in sperm from all three species were increased by the addition of cyclic AMP (cAMP) and vandate, a phosphotyrosine phosphatase inhibitor and were decreased by the addition of the phosphotyrosine kinase inhibitor, staurosporine. Oviductal conditioned media (CM) induced a progressive increase in tyrosine phosphorylation in both marsupial species and also induced morphological transition from a streamlined to a 'T'-shape configuration in brushtail possum spermatozoa but not in tammar wallaby spermatozoa. Transition to the 'T'-shape orientation associated with capacitation in marsupial spermatozoa was observed by 2 h of incubation in both species when tyrosine phosphorylation was increased by higher levels of cAMP i.e. 5 mM dibutyryl cAMP plus 3 mM pentoxyphylline. Thus the tyrosine phosphorylation trigger with CM may differ in these two marsupial species. Ram sperm tyrosine phosphorylation could be increased by addition of lower levels of cAMP (1 mM). These results support the finding that tyrosine phosphorylation is associated with sperm capacitation in marsupials. Similar results were obtained by using SDS PAGE/Western blot analysis of tyrosine phosphorylation in the brushtail possum spermatozoa. The specificity, efficiency and sensitivity of the procedure described here make it applicable for routine assessment of capacitation in large numbers of samples and in other species.
    Reproduction (Cambridge, England) 02/2004; 127(1):95-103. · 3.56 Impact Factor
  • Genevieve M Magarey, Karen E Mate
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    ABSTRACT: Although marsupial oocytes undergo nuclear maturation in vitro, there is, at present, no indication of their developmental potential, largely owing to the lack of in vitro fertilisation and related technologies for marsupials. Glucose metabolism has proven a useful indicator of oocyte cytoplasmic maturation and developmental potential in several eutherian species. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to compare: (1) the rates of glycolysis and glucose oxidation in immature, in vitro-matured and in vivo-matured tammar wallaby oocytes; and (2) the metabolic rate of individual oocytes with their ability to form pronuclei after intracytoplasmic sperm injection. The rates of glycolysis measured in immature (2.18 pmol oocyte(-1) h(-1)), in vitro- matured (0.93 pmol oocyte(-1) h(-1)) and in vivo-matured tammar wallaby oocytes (0.54 pmol oocyte(-1) h(-1)) were within a similar range to values obtained in eutherian species. However, unlike the trend observed in eutherian oocytes, the glycolytic rate was significantly higher in immature oocytes compared with either in vivo- or in vitro-matured oocytes (P < 0.001) and significantly higher in in vitro-matured oocytes compared with in vivo-matured oocytes (P < 0.001). No relationship was identified between glucose metabolism and the developmental capacity of oocytes after intracytoplasmic sperm injection when assessed after 17-19 h. Oocytes that became fertilised (two pronuclei) or activated (one or more pronucleus) were not distinguished from others by their metabolic rates. Longer culture after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (e.g. blastocyst stage) may show oocyte glucose metabolism to be predictive of developmental potential; however, culture to the single-cell stage did not reveal any significant differences in normally developing embryos.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 02/2004; 16(6):617-23. · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • Genevieve M Magarey, Karen E Mate
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to determine the timing of oocyte activation, sperm decondensation and pronucleus formation after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in the tammar wallaby and to determine the fate of sperm structures at an ultrastructural level. Metaphase II-stage tammar wallaby oocytes were injected with spermatozoa and cultured for 1 (n = 15), 2 (n = 24), 4 (n = 30), 6 (n = 14), 8 (n = 32), 10 (n = 25), 12 (n = 29) or 19 h (n = 12). Oocytes were assessed using light, fluorescence and electron microscopy. The timing of oocyte activation and sperm decondensation after ICSI in the tammar wallaby is relatively similar to that of some eutherian species. Resumption of meiosis II was observed from 1 h and the first female pronucleus was seen 6 h after ICSI. Most oocytes (88%) possessed a female pronucleus by 10 h. Intact acrosomes persisted with intact sperm heads up to 2 h after ICSI. At 10 h, 80% of oocytes possessed a male pronucleus. The sperm tail had undergone considerable degeneration by 10 h after ICSI, including breakdown of the fibrous sheath dense fibres. The identification of sperm tail and midpiece remnants adjacent to pronuclei confirms that the events observed in wallaby oocytes after ICSI are not due to parthenogenetic activation.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 02/2004; 15(7-8):397-406. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gametes from the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), an Australian marsupial, require exposure to oviductal cells and/or their secretions before sperm binding and penetration of the zona pellucida can occur. Sperm-egg fusion, the next critical step in fertilization has not previously been reported in vitro. Here we describe the refinement of an oviduct epithelial cell (OEC) explant culture system using two different media to obtain in vitro sperm-egg fusion in the brushtail possum for the first time. Conditioned media from OEC explant cultures were supplemented with either 1% fetal calf serum (FCS) or 1 mg/ml polyvinyl alcohol and used for co-culture of epididymal sperm and superovulated eggs. Under these conditions zona penetration rates varied from 0 to 46% and sperm-egg fusion from 0 to 20%. Analysis of explant conditioned media indicated that qualitative and quantitative differences between batches could account, at least partially, for the large variability in zona penetration rates. Conditioned media that contained approximately 1 mM of ionic calcium were most effective for achieving sperm capacitation, zona binding, and penetration and sperm-egg fusion. The reorientation of the sperm head to T-shape, an indicator of capacitation in the brushtail possum, was closely linked with the concentration of calcium present in vitro.
    Zygote 12/2003; 11(4):285-91. · 1.50 Impact Factor
  • Genevieve M Magarey, Karen E Mate
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    ABSTRACT: Conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques have been unable to produce normal embryos in any Australian marsupial, largely owing to problems with the early stages of sperm-oocyte binding. This study has used intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) of in vivo and in vitro matured tammar wallaby oocytes to bypass these processes and achieve fertilization in vitro. The fertilization rate (i.e. development to the two-pronuclei stage) of in vivo and in vitro matured oocytes following ICSI and sham injection was assessed at 17-19 h after injection. Fertilization occurred in 48% (45/93) of in vivo matured oocytes that were injected with spermatozoa. Significantly fewer sham-injected oocytes (6/82, P < 0.005) and uninjected control oocytes (5/84, P < 0.005) formed two pronuclei. In a direct comparison, the numbers of in vivo and in vitro matured oocytes that formed two pronuclei after ICSI were 22/28 (78.6%) and 23/40 (57.6%), respectively, which are not significantly different. There was also no significant difference in the nuclear response of in vivo and in vitro matured oocytes to sham injection. The numbers of oocytes forming a single pronucleus after sham injection were 10/24 (41.7%) and 24/37 (64.9) for in vivo and in vitro matured oocytes, respectively. Immature germinal-vesicle-stage oocytes were unable to decondense sperm injected during ICSI or to form pronuclei. These results demonstrate that both in vitro and in vivo matured tammar wallaby oocytes can be fertilized by ICSI. The success of ICSI not only offers the opportunity for fundamental analysis of marsupial fertilization but could, in conjunction with development of appropriate culture conditions and embryo transfer technologies, contribute to increased production of offspring from rare or valuable marsupials.
    Zygote 12/2003; 11(4):339-46. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the response of a marsupial, the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) to repeated superovulation and surgical oocyte collection and monitor any effects on subsequent natural breeding ability. Animals (n = 5 per group) were superovulated once, twice or three times with pig FSH (pFSH; 6 mg administered twice per day for 4 days) followed by 4 mg pig LH (pLH). There was an interval of either 5-6 weeks (n = 9) or 12 weeks (n = 1) between the first and second superovulation and 13-17 weeks (n = 5) between the second and third superovulation. Oocytes were collected surgically after each treatment. Serum was collected at the time of each treatment to monitor the formation of anti-pFSH and anti-pLH antibodies. Animals were allowed to mate naturally in the season following superovulation treatment(s). There was no significant difference between groups in the number of large follicles (2-5 mm diameter, mean +/- standard error) produced in response to the first (21.2 +/- 4.3), second (18.0 +/- 6.5) or third (29.0 +/- 4.9) superovulation treatment. Eggs were recovered from approximately 80% of follicles that were flushed during laparotomy. There were significant concentrations of anti-pFSH and anti-pLH antibodies (P < 0.05) detected in previously superovulated animals at the time of the second superovulation but not at the time of the third superovulation. The anti-gonadotrophin antibodies present at the time of repeated superovulation did not cause a significant decrease in average number of follicles. All animals produced pouch young in the breeding seasons after repeated superovulation. Combined with other reproductive technologies, repeated superovulation has the potential to increase the production of offspring from rare or valuable marsupials in captivity.
    Reproduction (Cambridge, England) 05/2003; 125(5):701-7. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) zona pellucida (ZP) is composed of three major glycoproteins, designated ZP1, ZP2, and ZP3 based on their size and homology with eutherian ZP proteins. These proteins are candidate antigens for the development of an immunocontraceptive vaccine to control the fertility of the brushtail possum in New Zealand, where it is an introduced pest. In order to further their immunological and functional characterization, recombinant possum ZP proteins were produced in Escherichia coli (E. coli) strain JM109, M15, SG13009, or BL21 codon plus. Each of the proteins produced possessed a N-terminal six histidine tag (His)(6) to facilitate purification and consisted of amino acid (aa) residues 18-471 of possum ZP1, aa residues 40-311 of ZP2 (ZP2-N), aa residues 305-634 of ZP2 (ZP2-C), and aa residues 23-342 of ZP3. Immunoblot using anti-RGS(His)(4) antibodies and polyclonal rabbit anti-porcine ZP antibodies detected major bands at 54 kDa for ZP1, 32 kDa for ZP2-N, 39 kDa for ZP2-C, and 40 kDa for ZP3. Immunization of male and female rabbits with ZP2-N, ZP2-C, and ZP3 purified on Ni-NTA resin under denaturing conditions generated antibodies reactive with recombinant ZP proteins on Western blot and with native ZP proteins in possum ovarian sections using immunofluorescence. Antibodies generated against ZP1 in the same way were reactive with recombinant ZP proteins on Western blot only. The recombinant possum ZP proteins and specific antibodies produced in this study give an indication of the antigenic relationship of the possum ZP proteins and are vital tools for future studies of sperm-ZP binding in marsupials and for the evaluation of ZP-based contraceptive vaccines in possums and other marsupials.
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 03/2003; 64(2):136-43. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The time course of nuclear maturation of oocytes was examined in brushtail possums, Trichosurus vulpecula. Oocytes were recovered from ovarian follicles > 2 mm in diameter after pregnant mares' serum gonadotrophin/porcine luteinizing hormone (PMSG/LH) treatment (in vivo matured) or 72 hr after PMSG treatment (in vitro matured). Oocytes recovered from small (< 2 mm) and large (> 2 mm) follicles were also assessed for their ability to mature in vitro. Staining with the DNA-specific dye Hoechst 33342 was used to assess the stage of nuclear development by fluorescence microscopy. The process of nuclear maturation progressed rapidly in vivo, as oocytes collected at 20-27 hr post-LH all had a GV, but by 28-29.5 hr post-LH approximately a third of eggs were MII. By 30-hr post-LH, more than 70% of oocytes had reached MII stage and all ovulated eggs were MII. In vitro, all oocytes were at germinal vesicle stage at the start of culture. After 24 hr of culture, 67% of oocytes had progressed to metaphase I/anaphase I of meiosis. After 36 hr, 25% of oocytes had completed maturation to metaphase II, increasing to 52% after 48 hr. Maturation of oocytes after 48 hr in culture was unaffected by the presence or absence of granulosa cells, PMSG or LH/porcine follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). More oocytes from large follicles (55%) completed maturation by 48 hr than from small follicles (15%). The potential of oocytes to mature after 48 hr in culture was dependent on the follicle harvested having reaching a critical diameter of 1.5 mm.
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 08/2002; 62(4):504-12. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sperm capacitation and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have been achieved in most eutherian mammals and American marsupials under relatively simple culture conditions. In contrast sperm capacitation in Australian marsupials has not been achieved in vitro and attempts at IVF have previously been characterised by a complete lack of sperm-zona pellucida (ZP) binding. Recently, co-culture of sperm with oviduct epithelial cell monolayers or with oviductal explant conditioned media has been shown to prolong the viability and motility of brushtail possum spermatozoa, as well as to induce capacitation-associated changes such as transformation of sperm to the T-shape orientation. In this study we report that these in vitro produced T-shaped sperm, and in vivo derived T-shaped sperm flushed from the oviduct of artificially inseminated possums as a control, are able to bind to and penetrate the ZP of approximately 25% of eggs recovered from PMSG/LH-superovulated possums in vitro. Development of ZP receptivity and penetrability towards sperm was also identified as a major factor affecting the outcome of IVF. Neither in vivo nor in vitro derived T-shaped sperm were able to bind to or penetrate the ZP if eggs were obtained from animals that were treated with pLH less than 76 h after PMSG. Thus this study provides preliminary evidence for the necessity of sperm-oviduct epithelial cell interactions for capacitation in Australian species and lends further support to the suggestion that the T-shape head orientation is indicative of sperm capacitation. Despite the occurrence of sperm-ZP binding and penetration, sperm-egg membrane fusion and egg activation were not observed. Although the factor(s) responsible for the lack of sperm-egg membrane fusion in the possum have not been identified it is possible that egg capacity for membrane fusion develops independently of zona receptivity and is defective in these eggs, or alternatively that membrane fusion requires strictly defined ionic conditions which are not provided by the IVF media used in this study.
    Zygote 09/2000; 8(3):189-96. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A reorientation of the sperm head so that it is perpendicular to the sperm tail (i.e., T-shape or thumbtack) is considered an indicator of sperm capacitation in the Australian marsupial the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). This study describes a method of oviduct epithelial cell monolayer and sperm coculture in the brushtail possum to obtain a high percentage of thumbtack sperm. The oviduct epithelial cell (OEC) monolayers were prepared in vitro from the isthmal and ampullary segments of eCG- and LH-primed brushtail possum oviducts. Coculture experiments demonstrated that cauda epididymidal sperm from the brushtail possum attached equally to the OEC monolayers derived from the isthmal and ampullary segments of the oviduct. After 2 h of coculture, a large number of sperm attached to OEC monolayers (ampulla, 60.1+/-4.7% and isthmus, 63.1+/-5.7%) as well as to controls (tracheal epithelial cell monolayer, 46.2+/-3.7%; Matrigel, 57.4+/-7.7%; plastic, 29.2+/-3.2%). After 6 h, fewer sperm were attached to tracheal epithelial cell monolayers (1.2+/-0.2%; P<0.01) and Matrigel (10.2+/-2.5%; P<0.01), compared to those attached to ampullary and isthmal OEC monolayers (37.9+/-7.2% and 44.6+/-2.2%, respectively), and none were attached to the plastic surface. Fewer sperm were released from the ampullary and isthmal OEC monolayers compared to those from controls (P<0.05). At 6 h of coculture with ampullary and isthmal OEC, the percentage motility of both attached and unattached spermatozoa was maintained at 40-50%, which was higher (P<0.05) than in controls. Progressive motility of unattached sperm was maintained at about 2 (on an arbitrary scale of 1-5) and was not different among treatments until 6 h. More than 60-70% sperm were viable at 6 h of coculture in all the treatments. Coculture of brushtail possum epididymal sperm with OEC monolayers transformed 60% of motile streamlined spermatozoa to thumbtack orientation at 2 h compared to approximately 25% in controls. No acrosomal modifications were induced in spermatozoa in any of the treatments. This study has demonstrated a role of the oviduct in transforming a large number of sperm from a streamlined to thumbtack orientation, which may have relevance in sperm capacitation and fertilization in this species.
    Biology of Reproduction 12/1999; 61(5):1356-61. · 4.03 Impact Factor
  • C A McCartney, K E Mate
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian zona pellucida (ZP) is an extracellular glycoprotein coat that plays vital roles throughout fertilisation and preimplantation development. Like that of eutherian mammals the brushtail possum ZP is composed of three glycosylated proteins of 137 kDa, 92 kDa and 62 kDa. The 62 kDa protein is a ZP3 orthologue based on its nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequence. The brushtail possum ZP3 cDNA isolated in this study is 1305 nucleotides with an open reading frame encoding a 422 amino acid peptide of 45.7 kDa. Possum ZP3 has a 46% amino acid identity with eutherian ZP3 and shares similar structural characteristics including 12 conserved cysteine residues, N-linked glycosylation sites and hydrophobic regions. Like human and rabbit ZP1 an altered furin cleavage site upstream of the C-terminal hydrophobic domain also occurs in possum ZP3 (S-R-K-R), suggestive of processing by a furin-related endoprotease. Expression of brushtail possum ZP3 is limited to the ovary. Characterisation of brushtail possum ZP3 will enable examination of its functional role in marsupial fertilisation and its effectiveness as an immunocontraceptive agent.
    Zygote 03/1999; 7(1):1-9. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have demonstrated that co-culture of brushtail possum epididymal spermatozoa with oviduct epithelial cell monolayers prolongs sperm survival and results in the re-orientation of the sperm head and tail to the T-shape (thumbtack) configuration. Transformation of sperm to thumbtack orientation is believed to be associated with marsupial sperm capacitation. Here we report that incubation in oviduct-conditioned media also significantly prolongs sperm survival and results in the transformation of sperm to the thumbtack orientation. The major objective of the current study was to examine the proteins present in the conditioned media, to determine whether any of these proteins specifically bound to sperm and the relationship between these proteins and sperm survival and thumbtack orientation. Co-culturing brushtail possum sperm with biotin-labeled proteins in conditioned media (CM) from ampulla, isthmus and uterine explants demonstrated strong binding of two proteins of molecular mass 230 and 61 kD and weak binding of nine proteins of molecular mass 200, 180, 120, 140, 55, 52, 48, 34, 30 kD to sperm within 30 min. The binding of the 61-kD protein from the conditioned media appeared specific as increasing concentrations of non-labeled oviduct proteins, but not serum proteins, inhibited the binding of labeled proteins. The binding of oviduct and uterine proteins in the conditioned media significantly prolonged sperm survival and percentage motility and also transformed a large number of sperm to a thumbtack orientation. The implication of binding of these proteins is discussed in the context of sperm survival and capacitation in this species.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 02/1999; 11(6):329-36. · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • K E Mate, J M Buist
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    ABSTRACT: Oocytes from a marsupial, the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), resemble those of eutherian mammals in their ability to resume meiosis in vitro when cultured under suitable conditions. Culture for 42-48 h in Eagle's minimum essential medium (EMEM) supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum, and 10 microg mL(-1) porcine luteinizing hormone (pLH) was required in order for oocytes, collected from the large antral follicles (> 2 mm diameter) of tammar wallabies (primed with 6 mg of porcine follicle stimulating hormone twice daily for four days), to proceed to metaphase II (MII) of meiosis. Under these conditions, chromatin condensation was observed within 4-8 h of culture in 61% of oocytes; metaphase I (MI) chromosomes were observed from 18-30 h of culture (66%); and most oocytes (76%) progressed to MII by 42 h in vitro. The addition of cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, at concentrations of 1-100 microg mL(-1), prevented maturation of tammar wallaby oocytes in vitro. This effect was reversible, as oocytes washed free of cycloheximide after 4 h of incubation were able to progress to MII. The addition of cycloheximide to wallaby oocytes at MI of meiosis prevented normal progression to MII suggesting that proteins critical for nuclear maturation are synthesized throughout the maturation process. Genistein, a protein kinase inhibitor decreased maturation of wallaby oocytes in a dose dependent manner. However, the concentration required to significantly inhibit maturation of wallaby oocytes (60 microg mL(-1)) was greater than that required for eutherian species. Most wallaby oocytes were able to undergo germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) in the presence of high concentrations of genistein but produced abnormal chromatin configurations and were unable to progress to MII. Future studies will examine whether cytoplasmic changes occur in marsupial oocytes in vitro and their temporal relationship to nuclear maturation.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 01/1999; 11(4-5):247-54. · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • K E Mate, C A McCartney
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    ABSTRACT: All mammalian eggs are surrounded by the zona pellucida, an extracellular coat involved in vital functions during fertilization and early development. The zona pellucida glycoproteins are promising antigenic targets for development of contraceptive vaccines to control pest populations of marsupials in Australia and New Zealand. Our current understanding of the function of the zona pellucida glycoproteins is based almost entirely on the mouse and may not be representative of gamete interactions in all eutherian or marsupial mammals. This study reports the isolation and characterization of the ZP2 gene from the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). The brushtail possum ZP2 mRNA is 2,182 nucleotides long with an open reading frame coding for a polypeptide chain of 712 amino acids with a molecular mass of 79,542 d. The deduced amino acid sequence of possum ZP2 is 48 to 55% identical to that of eutherian mammals. It shares several structural characteristics including N-linked glycosylation sites, location and number of cysteine residues, and hydropathy profile. The brushtail possum ZP2 gene is expressed exclusively in the ovary. Further studies are planned to elucidate the specific site of ZP2 expression within the ovary and its function during fertilization in marsupials.
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 12/1998; 51(3):322-9. · 2.81 Impact Factor
  • K E Mate
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    ABSTRACT: The zona pellucida (ZP) is an extracellular coat that surrounds the mammalian egg, and serves as the primary recognition site for fertilizing spermatozoa. The timetable of ZP formation was examined in two marsupials, the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) and the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) using conventional histological methods, immunofluorescence and electron microscopy. Ovaries from tammar wallaby pouch young less than 80 days of age contained only primordial follicles with a single layer of flattened granulosa cells. There was no evidence of ZP formation until 98 days, when a small number of eggs surrounded by a single layer of cuboidal granulosa cells had a ZP detectable by periodic-acid-schiff staining and rabbit anti-pig ZP polyclonal antibody labelling. Possum ovaries at 108 and 114 days also contained a small number of eggs with a ZP and a single layer of cuboidal granulosa cells. The antibody also labelled the peripheral cytoplasm of oocytes at this stage and, occasionally, the granulosa cells. Antral follicles were first detected at 144 days in the wallaby and 125 days in the possum, and always contained an egg surrounded by a ZP. Ovaries from 147, 158, 165, 181, 184 and 210-day-old tammar wallabies contained a range of follicle types from primordial through early antrum formation. Electron microscopy confirmed observations made at the light microscope level. The ZP was first detectable in small primary follicles with a single layer of cuboidal granulosa cells in areas where microvilli had begun to form on the egg plasma membrane. Immunogold labelling indicated the egg cytoplasm as the origin of the ZP proteins. The ZP completely filled the space between the egg and the adjacent granulosa cells in preantral follicles, so that there was no perivitelline space.
    Animal Reproduction Science 11/1998; 53(1-4):237-52. · 1.90 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

333 Citations
76.75 Total Impact Points


  • 1988–2009
    • University of Newcastle
      • • School of Environmental and Life Sciences
      • • Department of Biological Sciences
      Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • 1998–2008
    • Macquarie University
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2002
    • Landcare Research
      Christchurch, Canterbury Region, New Zealand