The GM2-activator protein (GM2-AP), revealed by Li et al. in 1973 in human liver, was initially identified as a protein cofactor that stimulated β-hexosaminidase A to hydrolyze N-acetylgalactosamine from GM2 ganglioside. This cofactor was found to be missing in human variant AB Tay-Sachs disease. Over the years, the GM2-AP has also been shown to be involved in kidney vesicular transport, lipid presentation by CD1 molecule to T-cells, and interaction of human sperm with zona pellucida. Since the expression of the GM2-AP via mRNA detection in mouse tissues was found to be the highest in testis, we became interested in the localization of the GM2-AP at cellular level in mouse testis during spermatogenesis. Using immunohistochemical analysis and electron microscopy, we found that the GM2-AP was predominantly localized in the basal cytoplasm and the attenuated processes of Sertoli cells. The stained structure appeared to be lysosomes. The most interesting finding was the association of the GM2-AP with the acrosomal apparatus in early spermatids. A modest to intense staining was observed in some acrosomal granules and acrosomal caps. The GM2-AP seemed to disappear from acrosomal caps in the later stage of spermatids, in which the nucleus became elongated and condensed. These results suggest that the GM2-AP may be involved in the normal functions of Sertoli cells and play important roles during the development of acrosomal caps in the early spermatids.
Keywords: Acrosomal apparatus; Basal cytoplasm; GM2-activator protein; Sertoli cell; Spermatids.
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