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

Characterization of a monoclonal antibody to a conserved epitope on human seminal vesicle-specific peptides: a novel probe/marker system for semen identification.

A novel sperm-coating antigen from the human seminal vesicles was discovered. We identified a monoclonal antibody MHS-5, recognizing an epitope with characteristics of a forensic semen marker: conservation in all vasectomized or normal semen samples tested (421); absence in all human tissues or biological fluids other than semen; and immunolocalization on the surface of ejaculated sperm. Western blots of ejaculates allowed to liquefy for 5 min demonstrated the MHS-5 epitope to be located on peptides of a wide range of molecular masses from 69 to 8 kDa. After 15 h of semen liquefaction, immunoreaction peptides of higher molecular mass were undetectable in semen, while peptides of lower molecular mass from 8 to 21 kDa retained antigenicity. Three peptides of 10, 11.9, and 13.7 kDa were the most immunoreactive species in semen liquified for 15 h. Using the MHS-5 monoclonal, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed sensitive to 1 ng of seminal protein. This assay showed that the MHS-5 antigen was undetectable in semen of common domestic animals and monkeys but was present in chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan semen. ELISA of homogenates from human organs and reproductive tissues demonstrated the antigen only in samples of seminal vesicles. Epididymal sperm obtained at vasovasostomy lacked the MHS-5 epitope, a fact that, together with immunolocalization on ejaculated sperm, demonstrated that the MHS-5 antigen functions as a "sperm-coating antigen." The MHS-5 monoclonal detected semen in sexual-assault evidence obtained six months previously and in mixtures of semen with vaginal or cervical fluid. Assay systems employing the MHS-5 monoclonal may be useful for identification of semen in sexual-assault casework. The MHS-5 epitope resides on novel seminal vesicle-specific peptides whose functions, aside from sperm coating, are uncharacterized.[1]


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