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Mol Reprod Dev. 1996 Mar;43(3):358-65.

Comparative immunogold analysis of tubulin isoforms in the mouse sperm flagellum: unique distribution of glutamylated tubulin.

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Biologie Cellulaire, Groupe Formation et Maturation du Gamète Mâle, Université Paris V, France.


The distribution of different tubulin isoforms in the mouse sperm flagellum was studied using four site-directed antibodies to tubulin: DM1A and DM1B general anti alpha and beta-tubulin, 6-11B-1 anti-acetylated alpha-tubulin, and GT335 anti-glutamylated alpha and beta-tubulin. Quantitative immunogold analyses were performed on five regions of the flagellum: the middle piece, three successive regions of the principal piece, and the terminal piece. A uniform labeling was observed with DM1A and DM1B along the entire flagellum both for peripheral doublets and the central pair. Similar results were obtained with 6-11B-1 directed to acetylated alpha-tubulin, an N-terminal-modified tubulin isoform. In contrast, the labeling for glutamylated alpha and beta-tubulin, C-terminal modified isoforms, was not uniform. The highest intensity was found in the middle piece and the terminal piece. The labeling which decreased significantly both for peripheral doublets and central pair along the principal piece was considered as a loss of glutamylated tubulin accessibility. From the middle piece to the end of the principal piece, this labeling was predominant in doublets 1-5-6, corresponding to the plane of the flagellar wave. However, the labeling for doublets 2-3-4-7-8-9 was heterogeneous, showing an increasing asymmetry. These results suggest that in the mammalian sperm cell model, the glutamylated tubulin might be involved in a functional heterogeneity among peripheral doublets of the flagellum.

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