Although sperm hyaluronidase is thought to play an important role in mammalian fertilization, the molecular function underlying these steps remains largely unknown. In mouse models, sperm-specific SPAM1 and HYAL5 hyaluronidase are believed to function in both sperm penetration of the cumulus matrix and sperm-ZP binding. However, gene-targeting studies for SPAM1 or HYAL5 show that hyaluronidases are not essential for fertilization, despite the fact that exogenous hyaluronidase can disrupt the cumulus matrix. Therefore, to evaluate whether sperm hyaluronidase is essential for mammalian fertilization, it is necessary to generate HYAL5/SPAM1 double-knockout mice. However, generating double-knockout mice is very difficult because these two genes exist on the same chromosome. Recently, investigators have begun to employ the pig model system to study human disease due to its similarities to human anatomy and physiology. In this study, we confirmed that pig SPAM1 exists as a single copy gene on chromosome 18 and is specifically expressed in the testis. In addition, we expressed recombinant pig SPAM1 in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and showed that these enzymes possess hyaluronidase activity. We also demonstrated that a polyclonal antibody against pig sperm hyaluronidase inhibits sperm-egg interactions in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) assay. Our results suggest that pig SPAM1 may play a critical role in pig fertilization and that recombinant SPAM1 can disperse the oocyte-cumulus complex in an IVF assay.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning ( NRF-2013R1A1A2010269 ), the Ministry of Health & Welfare ( CIMI-13-02-13 ) and Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program ( PJ009530012013 ), the Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.
- Cumulus-oocyte complex
- Pig SPAM1
- Recombinant protein
- Sperm hyaluronidase
- Sperm-egg interaction