Zona pellucida protein B2 messenger ribonucleic acid expression varies with follicular development and granulosa cell locationc1

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The freshly ovulated ovum in avian species is surrounded by a protein layer called the inner perivitelline layer (IPVL). The IPVL contains zona pellucida proteins and 6 distinct zona pellucida genes have been identified (ZPA, ZPB1, ZPB2, ZPC, ZPD and ZPX1) in the chicken. In the present research, the expression of the mRNA for ZPA, ZPB2, and ZPX1 was investigated in 2 lines of turkey hens selected for either increased egg production (E line) or increased body weight (F line). Theca and granulosa cell expression of the mRNA for ZPA and ZPB2 was also investigated in hierarchical and prehierarchical follicles from broiler breeder hens. Granulosa tissue was collected from F1 through F4 and F1 through F10 follicles in E line and F line hens, respectively. A one cm2 section of the granulosa layer around the germinal disc (GD) and an equivalent sized nongerminal disc (NGD) area was also collected from the F1 and F2 follicles from other hens from each genetic line. Granulosa and theca tissue was collected from hierarchical and prehierarchical follicles of broiler breeder hens. Total RNA was extracted from the samples. Minor groove-binding probes and primers for detecting ZPA, ZPB2, and ZPX1, were made for real-time PCR analyses. Expression of ZPA, ZPB2, and ZPX1 was detected in all follicle sizes from both genetic lines of hens. No significant differences in ZPA and ZPX1 mRNA expression were detected between the GD and NGD granulosa cells. However, the expression of the mRNA for ZPB2 was significantly greater in the GD granulosa cells when compared to the NGD granulosa cells in F1 and F2 follicles from E line and F line hens. In broiler breeder hens, the mRNA expression of ZPA and ZPB2 was greatest in the smallest prehierarchical follicles. The results suggest that higher expression of ZPB2 in the germinal disc area may be important for the preferential binding of sperm to this region of the IPVL.

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