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

Expression and secretion of rat SPAM1(2B1 or PH-20) in the epididymis: role of testicular lumicrine factors.

Rat sperm surface antigen Sperm Adhesion Molecule1, SPAM1 (a.k.a. 2B1 or PH-20) is a plasma membrane-bound glycoprotein with hyaluronidase activity and putative roles during fertilization. Previously the antigen was thought to be testis-specific but recently it has been shown to be synthesized in the epididymis (mouse, macaque and human). Using the efferent ductule ligated (EDL) rat as a model to produce a sperm-free androgen-maintained epididymis, we have examined the factors regulating the expression of epididymal 2B1. RT-PCR and in situ transcript hybridization ( ISH) studies showed that 2B1 mRNA is transcribed in the principal cells in all three regions of the epididymis. Its cognate protein was also detected by Western blot analysis in sperm-free cytosols from normal epididymis and found to undergo endoproteolytic cleavage into 2 subunits of similar size to the sperm-bound form. Immunohistochemistry with a monoclonal antibody to 2B1 confirmed that the protein is present in the epididymal epithelium and luminal secretions. The intensity of staining was much stronger in the sperm-free EDL epididymis than that in the normal (sperm-present) epididymis. The protein was shown to have hyaluronidase activity at neutral pH and both its quantity and activity appeared to be greater in the EDL epididymis. It is suggested that a soluble form of SPAM1 glycoprotein is synthesized and released in the epididymis and that in addition to androgens, its regulation may involve a cross-talk between the tubule epithelium and lumicrine factors, the latter possibly of testicular origin.[1]


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