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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

N-linked glycan of a sperm CD52 glycoform associated with human infertility.

In a benchmark study, Isojima and colleagues established H6-3C4, the first successful heterohybridoma immortalized from the peripheral blood lymphocytes of an infertile woman who exhibited high sperm-immobilizing antibody titers. The present report demonstrates the identity between the glycoprotein antigens recognized by the human H6-3C4 monoclonal antibody (mAb) and the murine S19 mAb, generated in our laboratory to sperm agglutination antigen-1 (SAGA-1). Both mAb's recognize N-linked carbohydrate epitopes on the 15-25 kDa, polymorphic SAGA-1 glycoprotein that is localized to all domains of the human sperm surface. Treatment with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C demonstrated that SAGA-1 is anchored in the sperm plasmalemma via a GPI-lipid linkage. Immunoaffinity purification and microsequencing indicated that the core peptide of the SAGA-1 glycoprotein is identical to the sequence of CD52, a GPI-anchored lymphocyte differentiation marker implicated in signal transduction. Comparison of anti-SAGA-1 and anti-CD52 immunoreactivities revealed that the sperm form of CD52 exhibits N-linked glycan epitopes, including the epitope recognized by the infertility-associated H6-3C4 mAb, which are not detected on lymphocyte CD52. Thus, the two populations of the CD52 glycoprotein on lymphocytes and spermatozoa represent glycoforms, glycoprotein isoforms with the same core amino acid sequence but different carbohydrate structures. Furthermore, mAb's to the unique carbohydrate epitopes on sperm CD52 have multiple inhibitory effects on sperm function, including a cytotoxic effect on spermatozoa in the presence of complement. These results are the first to implicate unique carbohydrate moieties of a sperm CD52 glycoform as target epitopes in the anti-sperm immune response of an infertile woman. Furthermore, localization of CD52 on all domains of the sperm surface coupled with the multiple sperm-inhibitory effects of antibodies to its unique carbohydrate moieties suggest opportunities for immunocontraceptive development.[1]


  1. N-linked glycan of a sperm CD52 glycoform associated with human infertility. Diekman, A.B., Norton, E.J., Klotz, K.L., Westbrook, V.A., Shibahara, H., Naaby-Hansen, S., Flickinger, C.J., Herr, J.C. FASEB J. (1999) [Pubmed]
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