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Rabbit Acrosome Stabilizing Factor (ASF) is an epididymal product that reversibly inhibits the process of sperm capacitation. The native molecular weights of the monomer and dimer ASF were determined from sedimentation and diffusion data at 129,000 and 259,000 Mr. The monomer is composed of 92,000 and 38,000 Mr subunits according to sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), with size heterogeneity demonstrated for the latter. The stoichiometry of the subunits appears to be one-to-one by gel scanning. Amino acid and carbohydrate compositions are characteristic of a globular glycoprotein, which is high in cysteine content and is 8.3% carbohydrate by weight. The sugar composition suggests the presence of both high mannose and complex N-linked oligosaccharides with the unusual feature of appreciable amounts of glucose. The isoelectric character of ASF spans a range from 5.3 to 7.0.
An obstacle to the study of protein phosphorylation in mammalian spermatozoa has been the inability to incorporate sufficient amounts of 32Pi into cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (Babcock et al., 1975). We report conditions under which 32Pi is effectively incorporated into the ATP of intact bovine spermatozoa. In the presence of a bicarbonate-buffered medium containing glucose, spermatozoa incorporated 32P into intracellular ATP in a time-dependent manner; after 2 h of incubation, the specific activity of [gamma-32P]ATP (2.3 X 10(4) cpm/nmol ATP) was estimated to be 50-65% of the specific activity of the intracellular phosphate pool. In the absence of glucose or other added substrates, the specific activity of [gamma-32P]ATP was 10-25% that of the specific activity observed in the presence of glucose. Washed spermatozoa incubated in carrier-free 32Pi for 2 h at 37 degrees C, and solubilized in a solution containing final concentrations of 6.8 M urea, 6% NP4O, and 5% beta-mercaptoethanol contained in excess of 40 32Pi-labeled proteins as assessed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Major phosphoproteins had approximate molecular weights of 93,000, 40,000, and 22,000. A different two-dimensional gel pattern was observed when cells were extracted with a solution containing 38.5 mM 2[N-cyclohexylamino] ethanesulfonic acid (CHES), pH 9.5/1.5% sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) at 100 degrees C. In contrast to the urea/Nonidet P-40 (NP40)/beta-mercaptoethanol extract, a 56,000 Mr phosphoprotein represented a major component while the 40,000 Mr and several of the 22,000 Mr polypeptides were markedly reduced in radioactive intensity. The 56,000 Mr species present in the CHES/SDS extract comigrated with the purified, phosphorylated regulatory subunit (RII) of cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate-dependent protein kinase from bovine heart. Antibodies to RII immunoprecipitated a 56,000 Mr, 32P-labeled polypeptide from the CHES/SDS extract that comigrated with purified, [32P] RII after two-dimensional electrophoresis. RII, then, appears to represent one of the endogenous phosphoproteins of intact bovine epididymal spermatozoa.
Numerous studies in recent years have elucidated fundamental properties of axoplasmic structure, biochemistry, and function. The structural role of the cytoskeletal elements, the orientation of MTs within the axon, the phenomenon of MT-dependent transport, and the identity and direction of movement of two MT motors--kinesin and MAP-1C--have been revealed. For many years to come, researchers investigating the structure and function of the Sertoli cell cytoskeleton will be able to adapt techniques gleaned from work on the axonal cytoskeleton. Innovative thinking will be required to apply these techniques to the special circumstances of the male reproductive system; however, the underlying questions are similar. For example, knowledge of several fundamental properties of transport processes in the Sertoli cell would facilitate the toxicologic evaluation of this system. What is the orientation of MTs within the Sertoli cell cytoplasm? Are the fast-growing (+) ends of all MTs in the Sertoli cell cytoplasm directed toward the lumen? This is an important question because the direction of MT-dependent transport involving known MT motors is dependent upon the MT orientation. Which of the Sertoli cell transport pathways are MT-dependent pathways? What are the MT motors involved in these pathways? Ultrastructural examination following exposure to specific cytoskeleton-disrupting agents has highlighted the importance of AFs, IFs, and MTs in the Sertoli cell. Future research will focus on the nature of those molecules which integrate these cytoskeletal components into a dynamic whole, the regulatory systems which control this integration, and the role of an integrated cytoskeleton in Sertoli cell function and testicular homeostasis. Toxicology will be an active participant in this process of scientific discovery. The selective nervous system and testicular toxicants may be useful tools in revealing similarities in the cytoskeletal organization of these apparently disparate organ systems. By searching for common targets in the testis and nervous system, the mechanisms of action of these agents may be more easily, and more confidently, determined.
The effects of intracellular application of two novel Ca2+ releasing agents have been studied in cultured rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurones by monitoring Ca(2+)-dependent currents as a physiological index of raised free cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i). A protein based sperm factor (SF) extracted from mammalian sperm, has been found to trigger Ca2+ oscillations and to sensitize unfertilized mammalian eggs to calcium induced calcium release (CICR). In this study intracellular application of SF activated Ca(2+)-dependent currents in approximately two-thirds of DRG neurones. The SF induced activity was abolished by heat treatment, attenuated by increasing the intracellular Ca2+ buffering capacity of the cells and persisted when extracellular Ca2+ was replaced by Ba2+. In addition, activity could be triggered or potentiated by loading the cells with Ca2+ by activating a series of voltage-gated Ca2+ currents. Ca(2+)-activated inward current activity was also generated by intracellular application of cyclic ADP-ribose (cADPR), a metabolite of NAD+, which causes Ca2+ release in sea urchin eggs. This activity could also be enhanced by loading the cells with Ca2+. The cADPR induced activity, but not the SF induced activity, was abolished by depleting the caffeine sensitive Ca2+ store. Ruthenium red markedly attenuated SF induced activity but had little action on cADPR induced activity or caffeine induced activity. Our results indicate that both SF and cADPR release intracellular Ca2+ pools in DRG neurones and that they appear to act on subtly distinct stores or distinct intracellular Ca2+ release mechanisms, possibly by modulating CICR.