Protein disulfide isomerase homolog PDILT is required for quality control of sperm membrane protein ADAM3 and male fertility [corrected]

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 6;109(10):3850-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1117963109. Epub 2012 Feb 22.


A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 3 (ADAM3) is a sperm membrane protein critical for both sperm migration from the uterus into the oviduct and sperm primary binding to the zona pellucida (ZP). Here we show that the testis-specific protein disulfide isomerase homolog (PDILT) cooperates with the testis-specific calreticulin-like chaperone, calsperin (CALR3), in the endoplasmic reticulum and plays an indispensable role in the disulfide-bond formation and folding of ADAM3. Pdilt(-/-) mice were male infertile because ADAM3 could not be folded properly and transported to the sperm surface without the PDILT/CALR3 complex. Peculiarly we find that not only Pdilt(-/-), but also Adam3(-/-), spermatozoa effectively fertilize eggs when the eggs are surrounded in cumulus oophorus. These findings reveal that ADAM3 requires testis-specific private chaperones to be folded properly and that the principle role of ADAM3 is for sperm migration into the oviduct but not for the fertilization event. Moreover, the importance of primary sperm ZP binding, which has been thought to be a critical step in mammalian fertilization, should be reconsidered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADAM Proteins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • Disulfides / chemistry
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Infertility, Male / genetics
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry
  • Protein Disulfide-Isomerases / chemistry*
  • Protein Folding
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*
  • Zona Pellucida / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Disulfides
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • calmegin
  • ADAM Proteins
  • Adam3 protein, mouse
  • Pdilt protein, mouse
  • Protein Disulfide-Isomerases