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J Cell Sci. 1995 May;108 ( Pt 5):2017-25.

Redox regulation of tyrosine phosphorylation in human spermatozoa and its role in the control of human sperm function.

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MRC Reproductive Biology Unit, Edinburgh, Scotland.


The redox status of human spermatozoa was found to have a profound influence on the fertilizing potential of these cells in association with qualitative and quantitative changes in the patterns of tyrosine phosphorylation. In general, oxidizing conditions enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation and stimulated sperm function, whereas reducing conditions had the opposite effect. Unstimulated human spermatozoa exhibited low levels of spontaneous acrosomal exocytosis and sperm-oocyte fusion and minimal reactive oxygen species generation, while phosphotyrosine expression was largely confined to a single protein of 116 kDa. However, if the spermatozoa were exposed to oxidizing conditions through the addition of exogenous H2O2, or the stimulation of endogenous NADPH-dependent reactive oxygen species generation, then a dramatic increase in tyrosine phosphorylation was observed (major phosphotyrosyl bands at 222 kDa, 200 kDa, 159 kDa, 133 kDa, 116 kDa and 82 kDa) in concert with the functional activation of the spermatozoa. A causal association between reactive oxygen species generation, tyrosine phosphorylation and sperm function was indicated by studies with the ionophore, A23187, which induced high rates of spermoocyte fusion together with enhanced rates of reactive oxygen species production and the increased expression of phosphotyrosyl proteins. This functional response to A23187 could be abrogated, without any concomitant change in sperm motility or viability, by using membrane permeant thiols or catalase to suppress the reactive oxygen species-induced increase in phosphotyrosine expression. The fact that the biological responses of human spermatozoa to biological agonists (recombinant human ZP3 and progesterone) could also be inhibited by catalase indicated the general relevance of these findings.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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