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PLC Zeta – The Sperm Specific Trigger

January 23rd, 2017

PLC Zeta – The Sperm Specific Trigger

PLC Zeta – The Sperm Specific Trigger

PLC Zeta is an important protein that is believed to play an important role during fertilization and other stages of fetal development. Data indicates that men who experience fertility issues often suffers from the lack or deficiency of this protein. This is mainly because even if the sperms are fused with eggs, the fertilization process is not activated when sperms are deficient in this protein.

How PLC Zeta Help In The Management Of Male Infertility?

According to a study reported in the peer-reviewed journal Development (1), investigators proposed that fusion or fertilization of a sperm with egg elicits a cascade of events that are followed by Calcium mediated chemical reaction. But what triggers this reaction?

Quality of Life and Male Infertility imageDuring the process of fertilization, the protein PLC-zeta (PLCz) is transferred from the sperms in to the eggs, to elicit the development of an embryo by modulating the flow of calcium ions across the membranes. A much recent study has suggested that some types of male infertility can be treated if PLCz is added to the specimen of defected sperms. The same study also confirmed that interplay of PLCz is responsible for the development and growth of embryo (2, 3).

How Does PLC Zeta Work And What Are Its Implications?

As part of a new experiment, the research team injected lab -prepared PLCz into the sperm specimen that was deficient in this protein. After some time, it was observed that the fertilization process was successfully completed followed by commencement of fetal development. In other words, if PLC zeta is introduced in the semen sample, a successful pregnancy can be obtained. However, it is still too early to finalize the results as right now it is limited to laboratorial trials only.

When an unfertilized egg is injected with a synthetic human PLCz, it leads to blastocyst stage of embryo development which is essential for a successful pregnancy. Laboratorial PLCz leads to fertilization which is fairly similar to the natural pregnancy. Though, currently it is limited to laboratories and cannot be replicated in the fertility clinics in the same manner but, it has shown a way which can lead to new methods of efficiently treating certain types of male infertility.

It is believed that future successful pregnancies can be achieved with synthetically prepared human PLCz to stimulate egg activation in a much natural way. In addition, couples who opt for IVF methods have better chances of having kids with PLCz treatment.   


  • Saunders, C. M., Larman, M. G., Parrington, J., Cox, L. J., Royse, J., Blayney, L. M., … & Lai, F. A. (2002). PLCζ: a sperm-specific trigger of Ca2+ oscillations in eggs and embryo development. Development, 129(15), 3533-3544.
  • Cox, L. J., Larman, M. G., Saunders, C. M., Hashimoto, K., Swann, K., & Lai, F. A. (2002). Sperm phospholipase Czeta from humans and cynomolgus monkeys triggers Ca2+ oscillations, activation and development of mouse oocytes. Reproduction, 124(5), 611-623.
  • Yoda, A., Oda, S., Shikano, T., Kouchi, Z., Awaji, T., Shirakawa, H., … & Miyazaki, S. (2004). Ca 2+ oscillation-inducing phospholipase C zeta expressed in mouse eggs is accumulated to the pronucleus during egg activation. Developmental biology, 268(2), 245-257.

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