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Biol Reprod. 1997 Mar;56(3):771-87.

Two-dimensional gel electrophoretic analysis of vectorially labeled surface proteins of human spermatozoa.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22908, USA.


The objective of this study was to identify the repertoire of proteins exposed on the surface of ejaculated human spermatozoa. High-resolution two-dimensional gel systems for separation of human sperm and seminal plasma proteins were developed using both isoelectric focusing (IEF) and nonequilibrium pH gradient electrophoresis (NEPHGE) followed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (IEF/PAGE, NEPHGE/PAGE). Proteins were visualized by silver staining of gels and by electroblotting followed by gold staining. The protein patterns were analyzed by computer after laser or camera scanning. One thousand three hundred ninety-seven sperm proteins with a molecular mass between 5 and 160 kDa and isoelectric points (pI) from 4 to 11 were catalogued from silver-stained gels loaded with approximately 0.25 mg of NP-40/urea extracts of sperm harvested by Percoll density gradient centrifugation, and 1191 proteins were resolved following extraction with SDS/3-[3-cholamidopropyl) dimethylammonio]-1-propane-sulfonate/urea. Analysis of seminal plasma proteins obtained from vasectomized patients revealed over 300 silver-stained proteins, which aided the identification of sperm-coating proteins acquired from secretions of the accessory sex organs. Sperm surface proteins accessible to vectorial labeling with 125I or N-hydroxysuccinimide biotin were identified; 181 protein spots were radiolabeled with 125I, while 228 protein spots were biotinylated, including several groups of protein isoforms. Cytoskeletal and intra-acrosomal control proteins were not iodinated or biotinylated, thus verifying the surface specificity of both labeling methods. Ninety-eight sperm surface proteins were labeled by both iodine and biotin, and 22 sperm surface proteins, representing five groups of protein isoforms, were shown to contain phosphotyrosine. A composite computer image showing the position of the dually vectorially labeled sperm surface proteins was constructed, together with a table of the proteins' molecular weight, pI, and relative concentration. In addition, novel isoforms of actin, beta-tubulin, PH-20, and several phosphotyrosine-containing proteins were identified in human sperm.

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