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Reproduction. 2005 Oct;130(4):497-508.

A mouse sperm decapacitation factor receptor is phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein 1.

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Reproduction and Rhythms Group, School of Biomedical Sciences, King's College London, Guy's Campus, London SE1 1UL, UK.


Capacitation is a pivotal event for mammalian spermatozoa, involving the loss of surface proteins known as decapacitation factors (DF) and consequent acquisition of fertilizing ability. Earlier studies showed that a mouse sperm DF binds to a receptor, DF-R, whose attachment to the sperm plasma membrane appears to involve a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor. In the present study, purification and subsequent sequencing of DF-R has identified this approximately 23 kDa protein as phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein 1 (PEBP 1). To obtain functional evidence that supports sequence homology data, purified recombinant PEBP 1 and PEBP 2 were evaluated for biological activity. While PEBP 1 was able to remove DF activity in solution at concentrations above approximately 1 nmol/l, PEBP 2 was ineffective, even at 600 nmol/l; this confirmed that DF-R is PEBP 1. Anti-PEBP 1 antiserum recognized recombinant PEBP 1 and a approximately 23 kDa protein in both mouse and human sperm lysates. Immunolocalization studies revealed that DF-R/PEBP 1 is located on the acrosomal cap, the post-acrosomal region and the flagellum of both mouse and human spermatozoa, with epitope accessibility being capacitation state-dependent and reversible. Treatment of cells with a phospholipase able to cleave GPI anchors essentially abolished immunostaining, thus confirming the extracellular location of DF-R/PEBP 1. We suggest that DF-R/PEBP 1 plays its fundamental role in capacitation by causing alterations in the sperm plasma membrane in both head and flagellum, with functional consequences for membrane-associated proteins. Obtaining more detail about DF <--> DF-R interactions could lead to useful applications in both fertility treatments and new contraceptive approaches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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