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A putative, ubiquitin-dependent epidermal mechanism for the recognition and elimination of defective spermatozoa in mammals.

Authors
Sutovsky-P; Moreno-R; Ramalho-Santos-J; Dominko-T; Simerly-C; Schatten-G
Source
J Cell Sci 2001 May; 114(9):1665-1675
NIOSHTIC No.
20021887
Abstract
The normal structure and function of sperm are prerequisites for successful fertilization and embryonic development, but little is known about how defective sperm are eliminated during mammalian spermatogenesis. Here, we describe a ubiquitin-dependent, sperm quality control mechanism that resides in the mammalian epididymis, the site of sperm maturation and storage. We used immunofluorescence, electron microscopy, western blotting and pulse-chase experiments to show that ubiquitin is secreted by the epididymal epithelium and binds to the surface of defective sperm. Most of the ubiquitinated sperm are subsequently phagocytosed by the epididymal epithelial cells. A portion of defective sperm escapes phagocytosis and can be found in the ejaculate. Cultured epididymal cells maintain their ability to produce ubiquitin and phagocytose the defective sperm, as well as the ubiquitin-coated microspheres, in vitro. The surprising phenomenon of cell-surface ubiquitination in defective sperm provides a possible mechanism for sperm quality control in mammals and a new marker of semen abnormalities in men and animals.
Keywords
Reproductive-system-disorders; Reproductive-system; Spermatogenesis; Spermatozoa; Fertility; Mammalian-cells
CODEN
JNCSAI
Publication Date
20010501
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
235845
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2001
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R21-OH-007324
ISSN
0021-9533
Source Name
Journal of Cell Science
State
OR; MO
Performing Organization
University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
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