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J Androl. 2001 Mar-Apr;22(2):302-15.

Molecular genetic analysis of two human sperm fibrous sheath proteins, AKAP4 and AKAP3, in men with dysplasia of the fibrous sheath.

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The Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, USA.


Dysplasia of the fibrous sheath (DFS) is characterized by male infertility, asthenozoospermia, and morphologically abnormal flagella that possess a severely malformed fibrous sheath. In many cases, DFS is familial, suggesting a genetic component. Human AKAP4 and AKAP3 are structural proteins of the fibrous sheath that also function to anchor protein kinase A to this structure via the regulatory subunit of the kinase. We hypothesized that defects in either AKAP4 or AKAP3 might cause DFS. No quantitative or qualitative differences between patients with DFS and normal controls were detected when sperm proteins were analyzed by either silver staining or immunoblot analysis using antibodies raised against AKAP4 and AKAP3. Additionally, AKAP4 and AKAP3 from DFS sperm retained the ability to bind the regulatory subunit of protein kinase A. Localization at the light and electron microscopic levels showed that AKAP3 and AKAP4 localized correctly to the FS of the amorphous flagellum in DFS sperm. Partial sequence analysis of the AKAP4 and AKAP3 genes in patients with DFS did not identify any significant alterations in potential AKAP4/AKAP3 binding regions, suggesting that the two proteins interact normally in DFS sperm. Our results did not find evidence to support the hypothesis that mutations in either gene are responsible for DFS in humans.

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