Testicular protein Tpx-1, also known as CRISP-2, is a cysteine-rich secretory protein specifically expressed in the male reproductive tract. Since the information available on the human protein is limited to the identification and expression of its gene, in this work we have studied the presence and localization of human Tpx-1 (TPX1) in sperm, its fate after capacitation and acrosome reaction (AR), and its possible involvement in gamete interaction. Indirect immunofluorescence studies revealed the absence of significant staining in live or fixed non-permeabilized sperm, in contrast to a clear labelling in the acrosomal region of permeabilized sperm. These results, together with complementary evidence from protein extraction procedures strongly support that TPX1 would he mainly an intra-acrosomal protein in fresh sperm. After in vitro capacitation and ionophore-induced AR, TPX1 remained associated with the equatorial segment of the acrosome. The lack of differences in the electrophoretic mobility of TPX1 before and after capacitation and AR indicates that the protein would not undergo proteolytical modifications during these processes. The possible involvement of TPX1 in gamete interaction was evaluated by the hamster oocyte penetration test. The presence of anti-TPX1 during gamete co-incubation produced a significant and dose-dependent inhibition in the percentage of penetrated zona-free hamster oocytes without affecting sperm motility, the AR or sperm binding to the oolema. Together, these results indicate that human TPX1 would be a component of the sperm acrosome that remains associated with sperm after capacitation and AR, and is relevant for sperm-oocyte interaction.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr Daniel Hardy (Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, USA) for kindly providing anti-AA1 antibody. This work was supported by World Health Organization (WHO) re-entry grant (A25075) and PLACIRH Training Grant to D.B.
- Acrosome reaction
- CRISP family
- Gamete interaction