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Mol Hum Reprod. 2015 Oct;21(10):755-69. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gav041. Epub 2015 Jul 7.

Novel characterization of the HSPA2-stabilizing protein BAG6 in human spermatozoa.

Author information

1
Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Discipline of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia elizabeth.bromfield@uon.edu.au.
2
Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Discipline of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

While a large cohort of sperm surface receptors underpin sperm-oocyte adhesion processes, our recent work has revealed that the molecular chaperone Heat Shock Protein A2 (HSPA2) is a key regulator of zona pellucida-receptor complex assembly in our own species. Indeed, in the infertile population, spermatozoa that fail to interact with the zona pellucida of the oocyte consistently lack HSPA2 protein expression. While the mechanisms behind this protein deficiency are under consideration, BCL2-associated athanogene 6 (BAG6) has been identified as a key regulator of HSPA2 stability in mouse germ cells. However, in the human, the presence of BAG family proteins remains completely uncharacterized. Consequently, this study aimed to determine the presence of BAG6 in human sperm cells and to characterize its putative interaction with HSPA2 throughout sperm cell development. BAG6 was shown to co-localize with HSPA2 in human testicular germ cells and epididymal spermatozoa. Similarly, BAG6 was identified in the equatorial region of non-capacitated spermatozoa but underwent a marked relocation to the anterior region of the head upon the induction of capacitation in these cells. Protein-protein interaction assays revealed the stable interaction of BAG6 and HSPA2 proteins in mature spermatozoa. Furthermore, examination of the spermatozoa of infertile men with zona pellucida binding defects, related to a lack of HSPA2, revealed a concomitant deficiency in BAG6 protein expression. In view of the findings described in this study, we propose that BAG6 is likely a key regulator of HSPA2 stability/function in human germ cells. Moreover, its under-representation in spermatozoa with zona pellucida binding deficiency suggests that BAG6 may be an important candidate to study for a further understanding of male idiopathic infertility.

KEYWORDS:

BAG6; HSPA2; male infertility; sperm–oocyte interaction

PMID:
26153132
DOI:
10.1093/molehr/gav041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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