Purification and characterization of the plasma membrane glycosidases of Drosophila melanogaster spermatozoa.

Department of General Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Milano, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milano, Italy.
Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 3.42). 09/2002; 32(8):929-41. DOI: 10.1016/S0965-1748(02)00031-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated the presence of two integral proteins with glycosidase activity in the plasma membrane of Drosophila melanogaster spermatozoa and we have suggested that these enzymes might have a role in sperm-egg binding. In this study the glycosidases have been purified and characterized. We have evidenced the presence of three distinct enzymes, two beta-N-acetylhexosaminidase isoforms, named HEX 1 and HEX 2, and an alpha-mannosidase. The molecular size of the native enzymes estimated by gel filtration was 158 kDa for beta-hexosaminidases and 317 kDa for alpha-mannosidase. SDS-PAGE showed that HEX 1 and HEX 2 are dimers formed by subunits with different molecular sizes, whereas alpha-mannosidase consists of three subunits with different molecular weights. All the enzymes are terminally glycosylated. Characterization of the purified enzymes included their 4-methylumbelliferyl-substrate preferences, kinetic properties, inhibitor constants and thermal stability. On the basis of substrate specificity, kinetics and the results of inhibition studies, beta-hexosaminidases appear to differ from each other. HEX 1 and HEX 2 are similar to mammalian isoenzyme A and isoenzyme B, respectively. These findings represent the first report on the characterization of sperm proteins that are potentially involved in interactions with the egg in Insects.

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