Immunolocalization of bovine sperm protease BSp120 by light and electron microscopy during capacitation and the acrosome reaction.
ANDREINA CESARI; SÁNCHEZ, J. J.; BIANCOTTI, J. C.; VÁZQUEZ-LEVIN, M. H.; KAISER, G.
MOLECULAR REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
Año: 2004 vol. 69 p. 411 - 418
Mammalian fertilization involves various steps in which the participation of specific enzymes has been demonstrated by numerous studies. Acrosin is one of the most widely acrosomal protease in mammalian spermatozoa studied, including bovine; however, other proteases have also been described. A new trypsin-like serine protease named BSp120 (bovine serine protease of 120 kDa) and its precursor BSp66 (66 kDa) were identified in bovine spermatozoa. Cytological and ultrastructural immunolocalization studies on BSp120 were performed in live and fixed cells. Immunofluorescence assays with specific polyclonal antibodies revealed localization of BSp120 on the sperm head, with a signal homogeneously distributed over the acrosome resembling a horseshoe. After the acrosome reaction, sperm showed a patchy pattern in the acrosomal cap. Immune electron microscopy analysis indicated that BSp120 is located over the head plasma membrane of capacitated spermatozoa and acrosome reacting spermatozoa. To assess BSp120 function in sperm-oocyte interaction, in vitro fertilization studies were conducted. Oocytes were incubated with spermatozoa pre-treated with anti-BSp120, anti-guinea pig acrosin, and anti-BSp120 plus anti-guinea pig acrosin. Pre-treatment of bovine spermatozoa with antibodies towards each protein did not significantly modify fertilization rates. However, when both antiacrosin and antiBSp120 antibodies were simultaneously added, there was a significant decrease in the fertilization rate, suggesting that both enzymes may be required for fertilization. Altogether, the results from the present study described the localization of BSp120 over the acrosome of bovine sperm, and suggest its involvement in fertilization.