Spermatozoa of the starfish, Asterias amurensis, have a specific receptor for asterosap, a sperm-activating peptide isolated from the jelly coat of homologous eggs. We characterized the receptor by using several asterosap derivatives. Analysis of equilibrium binding of radioactive di-iodinated Bolton-Hunter reagent-labeled asterosap ((125)I(2)-BHP15) to the spermatozoa indicated that the cell has 1.1 x 10(5) binding sites of high affinity (K(d) = 57 pM), and also the receptor showed positive cooperativity for asterosap binding. When spermatozoa were treated with fluorophore-labeled asterosap, the sperm flagella were labeled, indicating that the receptors are mostly localized in the sperm tail. When spermatozoa were reacted with radioactive asterosap prelabeled with photoaffinity cross-linkers, a single 130-kDa membrane protein of sperm flagella was specifically radiolabeled. This result was reproducible regardless of the length of spacer arm of cross-linkers so far studied. Therefore, the 130-kDa protein is likely to be the receptor for asterosaps. Modification of asterosap at the N-terminal region with bulky molecules such as carboxyfluorescein did not affect the activity of asterosap, suggesting that the N-terminus of asterosap is not involved in the ligand-receptor interaction. On the other hand, S-alkylated asterosaps did not compete with (125)I(2)-BHP15 for binding to the receptor, indicating that disulfide linkage of asterosap is essential for the ligand-receptor interaction. The properties of the receptor, high affinity and high concentration, enabled us to apply the fluorescence polarization technique to study the molecular interaction between asterosap and the receptor. Using this method, we performed binding experiments in almost real time and found that divalent cations are significantly involved in the interaction between asterosap and the receptor.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.