CD9 is an integral membrane protein associated with integrins and other membrane proteins. Mice lacking CD9 were produced by homologous recombination. Both male and female CD9(-/-) mice were born healthy and grew normally. However, the litter size from CD9(-/-) females was less than 2% of that of the wild type. In vitro fertilization experiments indicated that the cause of this infertility was due to the failure of sperm-egg fusion. When sperm were injected into oocytes with assisted microfertilization techniques, however, the fertilized eggs developed to term. These results indicate that CD9 has a crucial role in sperm-egg fusion.
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