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Richard J. Oko

  Reproductive and Developmental Biology

  Contact Information:  
  Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology
B.Sc. (Calgary); M.Sc. (Calgary);
Ph.D. (Saskatchewan)

Tel: (613) 533-2858
Fax: (613) 533-2566
E-Mail: ro3@post.queensu.ca

  My research is focused on the molecular and developmental biology of specialized mammalian sperm head and tail components and their roles during fertilization. For example, over the past few years we have been characterizing the proteins making up the perinuclear theca (PT) which is a proteinaeous shell that covers the eutherian sperm nucleus. We have evidence to suggest that the PT is involved in acrosome-nuclear docking, sperm-oolemma binding and oocyte activation. Our quest now is to find out which PT proteins are responsible for the above interactions and what the mechanisms of interactions are. We are also actively involved in characterizing the proteins of outer dense fibers and fibrous sheath of the sperm tail and of the inner acrosomal membrane of the sperm head. In summary, we are interested to know how specialized sperm proteins are involved in germ cell differentiation (spermatogenesis) and in fertilization.

  R. Oko and C.R. Morales 1996 Molecular and cellular biology of novel cytoskeletal proteins in spermatozoa in Cellular and Molecular Regulation of Testicular Cells, C. Desjardins Ed., Serono Symposia Series, Springer-Verlag, New York, Inc., pp. 135-155.

F. Pouresmaeili, C.R. Morales and R. Oko 1997 Molecular cloning and structural analysis of gene encoding PERF 15 protein present in the perinuclear theca of rat spermatozoa. Biol. Reprod. 57:655-659.

P. Sutovsky, R. Oko, L. Hewitson and G. Schatten 1997 Removal of the sperm perinuclear theca and its association with the bovine oocyte surface during fertilization. Dev. Biol. 188-75-84.

U. Schalles, X. Shao, F. van der Hoorn and R. Oko 1998 Developmental expression of the 84 kDa ODF sperm protein: localization to both the cortex and medulla of outer dense fibers and to the connecting piece. Dev. Biol. 199:250-260.

R. Oko 1998 Occurrence and formation of cytoskeletal proteins in mammalian spermatozoa. Andrologia 30:193-206.

R. Oko and Y. Clermont 1998 Spermiogenesis. In: Encyclopedia of Reproduction. E. Knobil and D. Neill Eds., Academic Press, San Diego, Vol 4:602-609.

M. El-Alfy, D. Moshonas, C.R. Morales and R. Oko 1999 Molecular cloning and developmental expression of the major fibrous sheath protein (FS 75) of rat sperm. J. Androl 20 (in press).