PROBLEM: To develop an additional approach for the study of oolemmal surface moieties involved in gamete interactions, we decided to obtain monoclonal antibodies by intrasplenic injection of human and hamster oocytes in Balb/c mice.
METHOD: Two Balb/c males were injected three times intrasplenically at 15-day intervals with approximately 40 zona-free hamster and 3–5 zona-free human oocytes. After the third injection, spleen cells were fused and hybridomas developed. We used a novel screening system based upon the use of sections of frozen human and hamster eggs, tested by means of indirect immunofluorescence. The antibodies that we produced were evaluated for their ability to interfere with the zona-free hamster eggs penetration by human spermatozoa. The B2B5 antibody was also developed as ascitic fluid and further characterized.
RESULTS: Seven antibodies reactive with hamster oocytes were produced. Six of them also reacted with human oolemmas. The binding was confined to the oolemma, and no staining of the zona nor the cytoplasm was present. One of these antibodies reduced the penetration of zona-free hamster eggs by human spermatozoa. This antibody, B2B5, an IgM kappa, was confirmed to interact with the oolemma by means of indirect immunofluorescence of fresh eggs and Covasphere binding. B2B5 did not react with other human or hamster tissues except capacitated human spermatozoa. The reactivity with the oolemma of hamster oocytes was not lost after egg penetration by human sperm.
CONCLUSIONS: Intrasplenic immunization using zona-free human and hamster oocytes allows the production of anti-oolemma antibodies. A system of screening based upon the use of sections of frozen eggs also allows an easy and quick scoring of many supernatants. B2B5 monoclonal anti-oolemma antibody deserves further studies in that is able to interfere with fertilization and its antigen appears to be confined to the gametes surface.