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

Anti-sperm antibodies from infertile patients and their cognate sperm antigens: a review. Identity between SAGA-1, the H6-3C4 antigen, and CD52.

PROBLEM: The correlation of anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) with some instances of unexplained infertility implicates a role for these antibodies in blocking fertilization. Improved diagnosis and treatment of immunologic infertility, as well as a more complete understanding of the mechanism behind this phenomenon, are dependent on the identification and characterization of relevant sperm antigens. METHOD OF STUDY: In this article, we review literature on methods employed to identify sperm antigens using anti-sperm polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies from infertile patients and vasectomized men. Particular focus is given to approaches using human and mouse monoclonal antibodies to define the SAGA-1 human sperm antigen. RESULTS: ASA present in sera and genital tract secretions from infertile patients and vasectomized men have been employed in a variety of methods to identify sperm antigens. In an alternate approach, a monoclonal antibody (mAb), H6-3C4, was immortalized from the lymphocytes of an infertile woman who exhibited sperm-immobilizing titers. Subsequently, the sperm-agglutinating, murine S19 mAb was shown to react with the H6-3C4 cognate antigen. The H6-3C4 S19 cognate antigen, designated Sperm Agglutination Antigen-1 (SAGA-1), was characterized as a polymorphic, highly acidic, GPI-anchored glycoprotein on the surface of human spermatozoa. Purification with the S19 mAb followed by microsequencing demonstrated that the SAGA-1 core peptide is identical to CD52, a glycoprotein on the surface of human lymphocytes. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that these two glycoproteins differed in carbohydrate composition. Thus, sperm SAGA-1 and lymphocyte CD52 represent glycoforms, glycoproteins with the same core peptide but with different carbohydrate structures. CONCLUSIONS: Autoimmunity to the SAGA-1 and/or CD52 glycoforms may lead to infertility. Structural and immunologic differences between these glycoproteins may be important factors in the etiology of immunologic infertility and other autoimmune disorders.[1]


  1. Anti-sperm antibodies from infertile patients and their cognate sperm antigens: a review. Identity between SAGA-1, the H6-3C4 antigen, and CD52. Diekman, A.B., Norton, E.J., Westbrook, V.A., Klotz, K.L., Naaby-Hansen, S., Herr, J.C. Am. J. Reprod. Immunol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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