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8. 12. 2022

A discovery of Czech scientists: This protein in the egg plays a crucial role in fertilization

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There is always more to discover in infertility treatment and research, so we learn new information every day.
However, the recent discovery of the team led by the Czech scientist Kateřina Komrsková from the AV Institute of Biotechnology and the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Charles University was a big surprise for us. The team discovered a new protein found on the egg's surface, which plays a vital role in fertilization, specifically in the penetration of sperm. At the same time, this team developed cell cultures to produce these proteins, which could positively affect the future diagnosis and treatment of infertility.

This revolutionary discovery was preceded by 18 years of research, on which several countries collaborated, including Great Britain, the USA and Japan.

"The effort of reproductive biologists to discover this protein has been huge, as it further allows a closer understanding of the whole process. Not only the binding of the sperm to the egg but also the sperm fusion into the egg," said Komrsková.
Hopefully, this discovery could improve the methodology of assisted reproduction in the future.

"It can help with diagnosis, on the one hand, because we still have a large percentage of cases where we don't know why the methodology doesn't work. Of course, sperm selection is a great help to us. Then we can directly select sperm that we know contain the proteins needed for the egg and sperm fusion to take place, and use these sperm in our methods of assisted reproduction," explains the clinical embryologist Pavel Koubek.

According to Komrsková, the research could lead to the improvement of infertility treatment and the further development of contraceptives. Her team is now investigating proteins that could be essential to the origin of life.

"If there were any improvements in sperm selection and a percentage increase in successful conception, it would be a huge success," adds Kateřina Komrsková.

We are pleased about these discoveries at Unica as well! Thanks to them, we can better understand our patients' diagnoses and adapt further treatment methods. We firmly believe that the research results will soon be reflected in practice too, and we will be able to help even more families to have their desired babies.

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