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Clin Proteomics. 2014 Mar 16;11(1):10. doi: 10.1186/1559-0275-11-10.

Comprehensive profiling of accessible surface glycans of mammalian sperm using a lectin microarray.

Xin AJ#1,2, Cheng L#3,4,5, Diao H6, Wang P6, Gu YH6, Wu B6, Wu YC2, Chen GW1, Zhou SM3,4, Guo SJ3,4,5, Shi HJ6, Tao SC3,4,5.

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Shanghai Jiai Genetics & IVF Institute, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Female Reproductive Endocrine-Related Diseases, Shanghai 200011, China.
State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 20037, China.
Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine, Key Laboratory of Systems Biomedicine (Ministry of Education), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China.
State Key Laboratory of Oncogenes and Related Genes, Shanghai 200240, China.
School of Biomedical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China.
China National Population and Family Planning Key Laboratory of Contraceptive Drugs and Devices, SIPPR, Shanghai 200032, China.
Contributed equally


It is well known that cell surface glycans or glycocalyx play important roles in sperm motility, maturation and fertilization. A comprehensive profile of the sperm surface glycans will greatly facilitate both basic research (sperm glycobiology) and clinical studies, such as diagnostics of infertility. As a group of natural glycan binders, lectin is an ideal tool for cell surface glycan profiling. However, because of the lack of effective technology, only a few lectins have been tested for lectin-sperm binding profiles. To address this challenge, we have developed a procedure for high-throughput probing of mammalian sperm with 91 lectins on lectin microarrays. Normal sperm from human, boar, bull, goat and rabbit were collected and analyzed on the lectin microarrays. Positive bindings of a set of ~50 lectins were observed for all the sperm of 5 species, which indicated a wide range of glycans are on the surface of mammalian sperm. Species specific lectin bindings were also observed. Clustering analysis revealed that the distances of the five species according to the lectin binding profiles are consistent with that of the genome sequence based phylogenetic tree except for rabbit. The procedure that we established in this study could be generally applicable for sperm from other species or defect sperm from the same species. We believe the lectin binding profiles of the mammalian sperm that we established in this study are valuable for both basic research and clinical studies.

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