Heparin-binding proteins from seminal plasma bind to bovine spermatozoa and modulate capacitation by heparin

D. J. Miller, M. A. Winer, R. L. Ax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Bovine spermatozoa that have been exposed to seminal plasma possess more binding sites for heparin than sperm from the cauda epididymis that have not been exposed to accessory sex gland secretions. Seminal plasma exposure enables sperm, following incubation with heparin, to undergo zonae pellucidae-induced exocytosis of the acrosome. In this study, the regulatory role of seminal plasma heparin-binding proteins in capacitation of bovine spermatozoa by heparin was investigated. Plasma membranes from sperm exposed to seminal plasma in vivo or in vitro contained a series of acidic 15-17 kDa proteins not found in cauda epididymal sperm. Western blots of membrane proteins indicated that these 15-17 kDa proteins bound [125I]-heparin. Heparin-binding proteins were isolated by heparin affinity chromatography from seninal plasma from vasectomized bulls. Gel electrophoresis indicated that the heparin-binding peaks contained 14-18 kDa proteins with isoelectric variation, a basic 24 kDa protein, and a 31 kDa protein. Western blots probed with [125I]-heparin confirmed the ability of each of these proteins to bind heparin. Each of these proteins, as well as control proteins, bound to epididymal sperm. The seminal plasma proteins were peripherally associated with sperm since they were removed by hypertonic medium and did not segregate into the detergent phase of Triton X-114. Seminal plasma heparin-binding proteins potentiated zonae pellucidae-induced acrosome reactions in epididymal sperm. However, seminal plasma proteins that did not bind to the heparin affinity column were unable to stimulate zonae-sensitivity. Control proteins, including lysozyme - which binds to both heparin and sperm, were ineffective at enhancing zonae-induced acrosome reactions. These data provide evidence for a positive regulatory role of seminal plasma heparin-binding proteins in capacitation of bovine spermatozoa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-915
Number of pages17
JournalBiology of reproduction
Volume42
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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