New insights into the binding behavior of the porcine sperm protein AWN

Marked pig sperm. Credit: Pascal Kroh / Leibniz-IZW

Scientific teams at the Leibniz Zoo Wildlife Research Institute (Leibniz-IZW), Humboldt University of Berlin (HUB), and Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Leibniz-FMP) have previously unknown localization of the pig sperm protein AWN. discovered. , Reinforces the assumption that this protein is involved in sperm-egg fusion. New discoveries are important for assisted reproductive technology.The results were published in the journal Reproductive biology..

Protein is an essential component of semen and plays a role in fertilization. On the one hand, it may protect male germ cells (sperm) during migration to the oocyte, while on the other hand it also mediates communication between sperm and the female reproductive tract and female gametes. Fibronectin type II protein is predominant in ruminants. Pet dog Sperm adhesins are mainly found in domestic horses and domestic pigs.In most cases Animal species, The predominant protein is still little known.To better understand the problem of infertility and improve assisted reproductive technology techniques such as: Artificial insemination Therefore, research on such proteins and their functions has made an important contribution to the protection of endangered species.

Experiments with intrinsically disordered proteins are difficult, so scientists have taken advantage of the potential for protein production in recombinant bacteria in the laboratory. “Such proteins can also be used in assisted reproductive technology,” said Beate Brown, a Leibniz IZW scientist.Scientists used this technique to create the Spellmadesin AWN (named after the first three character codes). amino acid Protein chain: A = alanine, W = tryptophan, N = asparagine) Like this.

Spellmadhesin has the ability to bind to other structures. However, intermolecular binding partner sites (especially sperm) are diverse and not well known. Sperm adecins form aggregates with each other or with other proteins, but it is unclear whether they can directly bind to lipids in the sperm envelope as well as fibronectin type II proteins. “For the first time, we have shown the mechanism of electrostatically driven binding of AWN to negatively charged lipids. This is very noteworthy because negative lipids are usually present in the intracellular membrane, but so far. , Only the localization of the AWN lipid was delineated on the surface of the sperm head, “explains Dr. Pascal Kroh. Leibniz-IZW student.

To visualize whether AWN is actually inside sperm cells, the science team generated antibodies against a fragment of the natural AWN. Fluorescent and electron micrographs did confirm the intracellular presence of natural AWN. Interestingly, scientists have found proteins primarily in the equatorial head of wild boar sperm. The way it could be incorporated into sperm must have occurred during the maturation process in the testis / epididymis. “This is appropriate because AWN is not only a component of semen, but already produced in the testes,” Pascal Kroh said.

If the process of preparing sperm for fertilization in the female reproductive tract is simulated in the laboratory protein Remains in the equatorial sperm segment. “This is the sperm adhesin AWN sperm Egg. ” Leibniz-IZW reproductive biologist Karin Müller speculates. The team will test this hypothesis in future studies.

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For more information:
Pascal D Kroh et al, Wild Boar Sperm AWN: New Insights in Its Binding Behavior and Localization to Sperm, Reproductive biology (2022). DOI: 10.1093 / biolre / ioab244

Quote: Https: // of pig sperm protein AWN (2022, February 14) obtained on February 14, 2022. New insights into binding behavior

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New insights into the binding behavior of the porcine sperm protein AWN

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