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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Jan 16;378(3):366-70. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.10.177. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

Expression and localization of voltage-dependent anion channels (VDAC) in human spermatozoa.

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Department of Urology, First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, China.


Voltage-dependent anion channels (VDAC), also known as mitochondrial porins, are a group of proteins first identified in the mitochondrial outer membrane that are able to form hydrophilic pore structures. VDAC allow the passage of the metabolites across the mitochondrial outer membrane, and are involved in metabolite transport and signal transduction. Several recent studies have indicated the important roles of VDAC in maintaining normal structure and motility of mammalian spermatozoa. To study the expression and localization of VDAC in human spermatozoa, different experimental approaches were applied: (1) specific primers were designed and VDAC gene sequences were cloned by PCR amplification from human testis cDNA library; (2) recombinant VDAC proteins were produced in the expression vector Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3); (3) human sperm VDAC proteins were extracted, separated and analyzed by Western blotting; (4) the localization of VDAC in human spermatozoa were detected using immunofluorescence. The three gene sequences and recombinant VDAC proteins were obtained, respectively. VDAC proteins were detected to be located in human spermatozoa, especially in sperm flagella. Our study elucidated for the first time that VDAC were synthesized and secreted at the testis level and eventually became an integral part of sperm proteins.

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