Sperm ubiquitination in patients with dysplasia of the fibrous sheath.
Rawe-VY; Brugo Olmedo-S; Benmusa-A; Shiigi-SM; Chemes-HE; Sutovsky-P
Hum Reprod 2002 Aug; 17(8):2119-2127
BACKGROUND: Human sperm with structural abnormalities display an increased content of the cellular proteolytic marker peptide, ubiquitin. We investigated whether dysplasia of the fibrous sheath (DFS), a severe structural anomaly found in the sperm of some asthenozoospermic patients, is accompanied by (i) increased ubiquitination of the sperm surface and (ii) by increased ubiquitination of the sperm mitochondria. METHODS AND RESULTS: Five DFS patients and eight fertile donors were studied by immunocytochemistry with anti-ubiquitin antibodies. Increased cross-reactivity of the ubiquitinated mitochondrial epitopes was seen in 32-50% of DFS sperm, but only 2-4.1% of sperm from fertile donors. Sperm surface ubiquitination assessed by sperm-ubiquitin tag immunoassay (SUTI) and immunofluorescence demonstrated an increased sperm ubiquitination in all DFS patients. The average median value of ubiquitin-induced fluorescence in DFS patients was 25.8 counts (range 19.8-37.9), as opposed to 13.4 counts range (9.3-16.6) in fertile men. Sperm with 'stump tails', coiled tails, twin and triplet sperm, and clusters of immature spermatogenic cells were common. CONCLUSIONS: DFS sperm have increased cross-reactivity to anti-ubiquitin antibodies, a finding consistent with the ubiquitination of defective sperm shown in animal models. These results justify the use of ubiquitin-based assays for objective semen analysis in infertile men with heritable defects.
Reproductive-system-disorders; Reproductive-system; Spermatogenesis; Spermatozoa; Fertility;
Author Keywords: asthenozoospermia; dysplasia of the fibrous sheath; male infertility; sperm mitochondria; ubiquitin
Peter Sutovsky, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia, S141 ASRC, 920 East Campus Drive Columbia, MO 65211-5300
University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri