Epididymosome-Mediated Acquisition of MMSDH, an Androgen-Dependent and Developmentally Regulated Epididymal Sperm Protein.
ABSTRACT A differential proteomics approach led to the identification of several novel epididymal sperm proteins. One of the novel proteins was methylmalonate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase (MMSDH). In the present study, we carried out an in-depth characterization to study its regulation by androgen, its appearance during ontogeny, and the mechanism of its interaction with and acquisition by the sperm. Western blotting and immunohistochemical studies suggest that the protein is present in both tissue and sperm from all regions of the epididymis, indicating synthesis as well as acquisition of the protein in these regions. Androgen depletion resulted in reduction of the MMSDH protein level in the epididymis, which completely disappeared 1 week after castration. The protein reappeared after testosterone propionate injection, indicating that the protein is regulated by androgens. Ontogeny studies indicated that the protein appeared from day 10 postnatal with a gradual increase at day 30, which maximized at day 50, indicating that the protein is developmentally regulated and is probably involved in epididymal development. Sequential extraction of sperm proteins indicated that MMSDH exists both as a peripheral and integral form on the plasma membrane. We also found that the protein can be transferred from the epididymosomes to testicular sperm in vitro. The study provides evidence regarding the acquisition of this multidomain androgen and developmentally regulated protein in the epididymis via the epididymosomes. The molecule has generated enough interest and deserves to be investigated further for its physiological relevance.
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ABSTRACT: Previously, we showed that epididymal sperm binding protein 1 (ELSPBP1) characterizes spermatozoa already dead before ejaculation in bovine. In this study, we investigated the presence of ELSPBP1 in bull genital tract as well as its acquisition by spermatozoa during epididymal transit. As assessed by real-time RT-PCR, ELSPBP1 was highly expressed in the caput and the corpus epididymis but was present in lower expression levels in the testis and the cauda epididymis. Immunohistochemistry revealed the same expression pattern. However, Western blot on tissue homogenates showed some discrepancies, as ELSPBP1 was found in a comparable concentration all along the epididymis. This difference was due to the presence of ELSPBP1 in the epididymal fluid. In both caput and cauda epididymal fluid, ELSPBP1 was associated with the epididymosomes, small membranous vesicles secreted by epithelial cells of the epididymis and implicated in the transfer of proteins to spermatozoa. As assessed by immunocytometry, ELSPBP1 was found on a subset of dead spermatozoa in caput epididymis but was found on all dead spermatozoa in cauda epididymis. To assess ELSPBP1 acquisition by spermatozoa, caput epididymal spermatozoa were incubated with cauda epididymosomes under various conditions. ELSPBP1 detection by immunocytometry assay revealed that only spermatozoa already dead before incubation were receptive to ELSPBP1 transfer by epididymosomes. This receptivity was enhanced by the presence of zinc in the incubation medium. This specificity for a sperm subpopulation suggests that an underlying mechanism is involved and that ELSPBP1 could be a tag for the recognition of dead spermatozoa during epididymal transit.Biology of Reproduction 08/2012; 87(4):94. · 4.03 Impact Factor