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Theriogenology. 2011 Aug;76(3):436-47. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2011.02.020. Epub 2011 May 23.

Conserved ram seminal plasma proteins bind to the sperm membrane and repair cryopreservation damage.

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1
Laboratorio de Biotecnología de la Reproducción, INTA, Route 226 Km. 73.5, Balcarce (7620), Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Abstract

Whole seminal plasma (SP) enhances the function and fertility of frozen/thawed ram sperm. The objective of the current study was to investigate whether SP proteins capable of binding to molecules from the sperm plasma membrane were conserved among ram breeds, and whether these proteins were sufficient to overcome cryopreservation-induced reductions in sperm quality. Whole ram SP, obtained from rams of various breeds, improved progressive motility of frozen/thawed sperm at all times evaluated (P < 0.05); however, it did not improve total motility (15 min, P = 0.480; 30 min, P = 0.764; and 45 min, P = 0.795). To identify SP proteins responsible for this effect, a new method was developed to retain SP proteins that bound specifically to the sperm membrane by immobilization of sperm membrane proteins. These proteins specifically bound to the sperm surface, especially the acrosomal region. Lactotransferrin, epididymal secretory protein E1, Synaptosomal-associated protein 29, and RSVP-20 were identified (mass spectrometry) in this fraction. The retained SP proteins fraction repaired ultrastructural damage of frozen/thawed sperm and, with the addition of fructose, significantly improved motility of frozen/thawed sperm. We concluded that SP proteins that bound to the sperm membrane were conserved among ram breeds, and that when added to frozen/thawed semen (along with an energy source), they repaired ram sperm damage and enhanced sperm motility.

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