Anti-SLIP1-reactive proteins exist on human spermatozoa and are involved in zona pellucida binding
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Sulpholipid immobilizing protein 1 (SLIP1) is an evolutionarily conserved 68 kDa plasma membrane protein, present selectively in germ cells. We have previously shown that mouse sperm SLIP1 is involved in sperm-zona pellucida (ZP) binding. In this report, we extended our study to the human system. Immunoblotting demonstrated that anti-SLIP1-reactive proteins (mol. wt 68 and 48 kDa) could be extracted from human spermatozoa by an ATP-containing solution, a result that is consistent with observations in other species. Direct immunofluorescence, using Cy3-conjugated anti-SLIP1 IgG, revealed SLIP1 staining over the acrosomal region, with higher intensity at the posterior area. Using the human sperm-ZP binding assay, we demonstrated that pretreatment of human spermatozoa from three donors with anti-SLIP1 IgG revealed lower numbers of zona-bound spermatozoa, as compared to the corresponding control spermatozoa treated with normal rabbit serum IgG. This decrease in zona pellucida binding was not from an antibody-induced decline in sperm motility or an increase in the premature acrosome reaction. The results strongly suggest that anti-SLIP-reactive proteins on human spermatozoa play an important role in ZP binding.
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