Introduction: In mammalian system, spermatozoa are not able to fertilize the oocyte immediately upon ejaculation, thus they undergo a series of biochemical and molecular changes which is termed capacitation. During sperm capacitation, signal transduction pathways are activated which lead to protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Tyrosine phosphorylated proteins have an important role in sperm capacitation such as hyperactive motility, interaction with zona pellucida and acrosome reaction. Evaluation of tyrosine phosphorylation pattern is important for further understanding of molecular mechanisms of fertilization and the etiology of sperm dysfunctions and abnormalities such as teratospermia. The goal of this study is to characterize tyrosine phosphorylation pattern in sperm proteins isolated from normospermic and teratospermic infertile men attending Avicenna Infertility Clinic in Tehran.
Materials and methods: Semen samples were collected and the spermatozoa were isolated using Percoll gradient centrifugation. Then the spermatozoa were incubated up to 6h at 37°C with 5% CO2 in 3% Bovine Serum Albumin-supplemented Ham's F-10 for capacitation to take place. The total proteins from spermatozoa were extracted and were subjected to SDS-PAGE before and after capacitation. To evaluate protein tyrosine phosphorylation pattern, western blotting with specific antibody against phosphorylated tyrosines was performed.
Results: THE RESULTS UPON WESTERN BLOTTING SHOWED: 1) at least six protein bands were detected before capacitation in the spermatozoa from normospermic samples. However, comparable levels of tyrosine phosphorylation was not observed in the spermatozoa from teratospermic samples. 2) The intensity of protein tyrosine phosphorylation appears to have been increased during capacitation in the normospermic relative to the teratospermic group.
Conclusion: For the first time, these findings demonstrate and suggest that the differences in the types of proteins and diminished tyrosine phosphorylation efficiency in sperm from teratospermic men may be responsible for their compromised capacitation and low fertilization success rates.
Keywords: Capacitation; Male infertility; Normospermia; Sperm; Spermatozoa; Teratospermia; Tyrosine phosphorylation.