INVITED RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 574-582

Remodeling of the plasma membrane in preparation for sperm-egg recognition: roles of acrosomal proteins


1 Chronic Disease Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Ottawa; Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
2 Chronic Disease Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa; Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
3 Chronic Disease Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand
4 Chronic Disease Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
5 Chronic Disease Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute; Division of Infectious Diseases, Ottawa Hospital - General Campus, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;
6 Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
7 The ARC Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
8 Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech University, Texas, USA
9 Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, California, USA

Correspondence Address:
Nongnuj Tanphaichitr
Chronic Disease Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Ottawa; Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.152817

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The interaction of sperm with the egg's extracellular matrix, the zona pellucida (ZP) is the first step of the union between male and female gametes. The molecular mechanisms of this process have been studied for the past six decades with the results obtained being both interesting and confusing. In this article, we describe our recent work, which attempts to address two lines of questions from previous studies. First, because there are numerous ZP binding proteins reported by various researchers, how do these proteins act together in sperm-ZP interaction? Second, why do a number of acrosomal proteins have ZP affinity? Are they involved mainly in the initial sperm-ZP binding or rather in anchoring acrosome reacting/reacted spermatozoa to the ZP? Our studies reveal that a number of ZP binding proteins and chaperones, extracted from the anterior sperm head plasma membrane, coexist as high molecular weight (HMW) complexes, and that these complexes in capacitated spermatozoa have preferential ability to bind to the ZP. Zonadhesin (ZAN), known as an acrosomal protein with ZP affinity, is one of these proteins in the HMW complexes. Immunoprecipitation indicates that ZAN interacts with other acrosomal proteins, proacrosin/acrosin and sp32 (ACRBP), also present in the HMW complexes. Immunodetection of ZAN and proacrosin/acrosin on spermatozoa further indicates that both proteins traffic to the sperm head surface during capacitation where the sperm acrosomal matrix is still intact, and therefore they are likely involved in the initial sperm-ZP binding step.


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