Evidence for the involvement of testicular protein CRISP2 in mouse sperm-egg fusion

Dolores Busso, Nadia M. Goldweic, Masaru Hayashi, Masanori Kasahara, Patricia S. Cuasnicú*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


CRISP2, originally known as Tpx-1, is a cysteine-rich secretory protein specifically expressed in male haploid germ cells. Although likely to be involved in gamete interaction, evidence for a functional role of CRISP2 in fertilization still remains poor. In the present study, we used a mouse model to examine the subcellular localization of CRISP2 in sperm and its involvement in the different stages of fertilization. Results from indirect immunofluorescence and protein extraction experiments indi-cated that mouse CRISP2 is an intraacrosomal component that remains associated with sperm after capacitation and the acrosome reaction (AR). In vitro fertilization assays using zona pellucida-intact mouse eggs showed that an antibody against the protein significantly decreased the percentage of penetrated eggs, with a coincident accumulation of perivitelline sperm. The failure to inhibit zona pellucida penetration excludes a detrimental effect of the antibody on sperm motility or the AR, supporting a specific participation of CRSSP2 at the sperm-egg fusion step. In agreement with this evidence, recombinant mouse CRISP2 (recCRISP2) specifically bound to the fusogenic area of mouse eggs, as previously reported for rat CRISP1, an epididymal protein involved in gamete fusion. In vitro competition investigations showed that incubation of mouse zona-free eggs with a fixed concentration of recCRISP2 and increasing amounts of rat CRISP1 reduced the binding of recCRISP2 to the egg, suggesting that the proteins interact with common complementary sites on the egg surface. Our findings indicate that testicular CRISP2, as observed for epididymal CRISP1, is involved in sperm-egg fusion through its binding to complementary sites on the egg surface, supporting the idea of functional cooperation between homologous molecules to ensure the success of fertilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-708
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Fertilization
  • Ovum
  • Sperm
  • Testis


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