SNARE Proteins: A superfamily of small proteins which are involved in the MEMBRANE FUSION events, intracellular protein trafficking and secretory processes. They share a homologous SNARE motif. The SNARE proteins are divided into subfamilies: QA-SNARES; QB-SNARES; QC-SNARES; and R-SNARES. The formation of a SNARE complex (composed of one each of the four different types SNARE domains (Qa, Qb, Qc, and R)) mediates MEMBRANE FUSION. Following membrane fusion SNARE complexes are dissociated by the NSFs (N-ETHYLMALEIMIDE-SENSITIVE FACTORS), in conjunction with SOLUBLE NSF ATTACHMENT PROTEIN, i.e., SNAPs (no relation to SNAP 25.)Acrosome Reaction: Changes that occur to liberate the enzymes of the ACROSOME of a sperm (SPERMATOZOA). Acrosome reaction allows the sperm to penetrate the ZONA PELLUCIDA and enter the OVUM during FERTILIZATION.Acrosome: The cap-like structure covering the anterior portion of SPERM HEAD. Acrosome, derived from LYSOSOMES, is a membrane-bound organelle that contains the required hydrolytic and proteolytic enzymes necessary for sperm penetration of the egg in FERTILIZATION.Spermatozoa: Mature male germ cells derived from SPERMATIDS. As spermatids move toward the lumen of the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES, they undergo extensive structural changes including the loss of cytoplasm, condensation of CHROMATIN into the SPERM HEAD, formation of the ACROSOME cap, the SPERM MIDPIECE and the SPERM TAIL that provides motility.Sperm Capacitation: The structural and functional changes by which SPERMATOZOA become capable of oocyte FERTILIZATION. It normally requires exposing the sperm to the female genital tract for a period of time to bring about increased SPERM MOTILITY and the ACROSOME REACTION before fertilization in the FALLOPIAN TUBES can take place.Membrane Fusion: The adherence and merging of cell membranes, intracellular membranes, or artificial membranes to each other or to viruses, parasites, or interstitial particles through a variety of chemical and physical processes.R-SNARE Proteins: SNARE proteins where the central amino acid residue of the SNARE motif is an ARGININE. They are classified separately from the Q-SNARE PROTEINS where the central amino acid residue of the SNARE motif is a GLUTAMINE. This subfamily contains the vesicle associated membrane proteins (VAMPs) based on similarity to the prototype for the R-SNAREs, VAMP2 (synaptobrevin 2).IllinoisSyntaxin 1: A neuronal cell membrane protein that combines with SNAP-25 and SYNAPTOBREVIN 2 to form a SNARE complex that leads to EXOCYTOSIS.Qa-SNARE Proteins: A subfamily of Q-SNARE PROTEINS which occupy the same position as syntaxin 1A in the SNARE complex and which also are most similar to syntaxin 1A in their AMINO ACID SEQUENCE. This subfamily is also known as the syntaxins, although a few so called syntaxins are Qc-SNARES.Annexin A7: An annexin family member that plays a role in MEMBRANE FUSION and signaling via VOLTAGE-DEPENDENT CALCIUM CHANNELS.Zona Pellucida: A tough transparent membrane surrounding the OVUM. It is penetrated by the sperm during FERTILIZATION.Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors: Intracellular receptors that bind to INOSITOL 1,4,5-TRISPHOSPHATE and play an important role in its intracellular signaling. Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors are calcium channels that release CALCIUM in response to increased levels of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate in the CYTOPLASM.Sperm-Ovum Interactions: Interactive processes between the oocyte (OVUM) and the sperm (SPERMATOZOA) including sperm adhesion, ACROSOME REACTION, sperm penetration of the ZONA PELLUCIDA, and events leading to FERTILIZATION.Sperm Head: The anterior portion of the spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) that contains mainly the nucleus with highly compact CHROMATIN material.Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate: Intracellular messenger formed by the action of phospholipase C on phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate, which is one of the phospholipids that make up the cell membrane. Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate is released into the cytoplasm where it releases calcium ions from internal stores within the cell's endoplasmic reticulum. These calcium ions stimulate the activity of B kinase or calmodulin.Dictionaries, MedicalDictionaries as Topic: Lists of words, usually in alphabetical order, giving information about form, pronunciation, etymology, grammar, and meaning.Sperm Motility: Movement characteristics of SPERMATOZOA in a fresh specimen. It is measured as the percentage of sperms that are moving, and as the percentage of sperms with productive flagellar motion such as rapid, linear, and forward progression.Arteriovenous Malformations: Abnormal formation of blood vessels that shunt arterial blood directly into veins without passing through the CAPILLARIES. They usually are crooked, dilated, and with thick vessel walls. A common type is the congenital arteriovenous fistula. The lack of blood flow and oxygen in the capillaries can lead to tissue damage in the affected areas.Semen Preservation: The process by which semen is kept viable outside of the organism from which it was derived (i.e., kept from decay by means of a chemical agent, cooling, or a fluid substitute that mimics the natural state within the organism).Dictionaries, ChemicalPsychoses, Substance-Induced: Psychotic organic mental disorders resulting from the toxic effect of drugs and chemicals or other harmful substance.Reproduction: The total process by which organisms produce offspring. (Stedman, 25th ed)Financing, Government: Federal, state, or local government organized methods of financial assistance.VirginiaYolk Sac: The first of four extra-embryonic membranes to form during EMBRYOGENESIS. In REPTILES and BIRDS, it arises from endoderm and mesoderm to incorporate the EGG YOLK into the DIGESTIVE TRACT for nourishing the embryo. In placental MAMMALS, its nutritional function is vestigial; however, it is the source of INTESTINAL MUCOSA; BLOOD CELLS; and GERM CELLS. It is sometimes called the vitelline sac, which should not be confused with the VITELLINE MEMBRANE of the egg.Vocabulary: The sum or the stock of words used by a language, a group, or an individual. (From Webster, 3d ed)Vocabulary, Controlled: A specified list of terms with a fixed and unalterable meaning, and from which a selection is made when CATALOGING; ABSTRACTING AND INDEXING; or searching BOOKS; JOURNALS AS TOPIC; and other documents. The control is intended to avoid the scattering of related subjects under different headings (SUBJECT HEADINGS). The list may be altered or extended only by the publisher or issuing agency. (From Harrod's Librarians' Glossary, 7th ed, p163)West VirginiaExocytosis: Cellular release of material within membrane-limited vesicles by fusion of the vesicles with the CELL MEMBRANE.Fertilization: The fusion of a spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) with an OVUM thus resulting in the formation of a ZYGOTE.Sterols: Steroids with a hydroxyl group at C-3 and most of the skeleton of cholestane. Additional carbon atoms may be present in the side chain. (IUPAC Steroid Nomenclature, 1987)Lipids: A generic term for fats and lipoids, the alcohol-ether-soluble constituents of protoplasm, which are insoluble in water. They comprise the fats, fatty oils, essential oils, waxes, phospholipids, glycolipids, sulfolipids, aminolipids, chromolipids (lipochromes), and fatty acids. (Grant & Hackh's Chemical Dictionary, 5th ed)Fertilization in Vitro: An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro.Signal Transduction: The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway.G(M1) Ganglioside: A specific monosialoganglioside that accumulates abnormally within the nervous system due to a deficiency of GM1-b-galactosidase, resulting in GM1 gangliosidosis.Pentoxifylline: A METHYLXANTHINE derivative that inhibits phosphodiesterase and affects blood rheology. It improves blood flow by increasing erythrocyte and leukocyte flexibility. It also inhibits platelet aggregation. Pentoxifylline modulates immunologic activity by stimulating cytokine production.Chlortetracycline: A TETRACYCLINE with a 7-chloro substitution.Cryopreservation: Preservation of cells, tissues, organs, or embryos by freezing. In histological preparations, cryopreservation or cryofixation is used to maintain the existing form, structure, and chemical composition of all the constituent elements of the specimens.Echinodermata: A phylum of the most familiar marine invertebrates. Its class Stelleroidea contains two subclasses, the Asteroidea (the STARFISH or sea stars) and the Ophiuroidea (the brittle stars, also called basket stars and serpent stars). There are 1500 described species of STARFISH found throughout the world. The second class, Echinoidea, contains about 950 species of SEA URCHINS, heart urchins, and sand dollars. A third class, Holothuroidea, comprises about 900 echinoderms known as SEA CUCUMBERS. Echinoderms are used extensively in biological research. (From Barnes, Invertebrate Zoology, 5th ed, pp773-826)Sea Cucumbers: A class of Echinodermata characterized by long, slender bodies.