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Reprod Nutr Dev. 1984;24(4):419-29.

Studies on acrosome labelling of mammalian spermatozoa by radioactive sugars.


The localization of glycoprotein synthesis and storage was studied during acrosome formation in guinea-pig using fine-structure autoradiography after (3H)-fucose incorporation. Three days after (3H)-fucose injection, labelling in spermatids was concentrated in the matrix of developing acrosomes, and it was evident that the fucosylation of acrosomal glycoproteins largely overshadowed the fucosylation of other spermatid glycoproteins. Acrosin labelling and its quantitative relation to labelling of other glycoproteins was examined in mature rabbit spermatozoa after incorporation of (14C)-fucose or (14C)-glucosamine during spermatogenesis. Cauda epididymis spermatozoa recovered 21 days after intratesticular application of (14C)-fucose or (14C)-glucosamine were analysed for acrosin specific labelling after acid extraction and gel filtration. In all the material examined, radioactivity was detected in the proacrosine fractions; radioactivity in purified proacrosin amounted to at least 2% of the total radioactivity in the epididymal sperm population. In addition to the peak with radioactive proacrosin, another radioactive peak in (14C)-glucosamine-labelled material was attributed to a glycoprotein intraacrosomal inhibitor of acrosin. It is concluded that (pro)acrosin (acrosin-inhibitor) complexes seem to contribute significantly to acrosomal glycoprotein labelling by radioactive sugars and that the distribution of these complexes may at least correspond to their cytochemically detectable component, acrosin. The superposition of the distribution of acrosin and of other acrosomal glycoproteins during acrosome reaction can be explained by the fact that the dispersal of most of the acrosomal content is linked to proacrosin activation.

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