Postnatal development and testosterone dependence of a rat epididymal protein identified by neonatal tolerization.


A rat epididymal protein of 27 kDa was identified using neonatal tolerization. This study reports the production and characterization of a polyclonal antiserum to this protein. ELISA was used to demonstrate that this antiserum reacts strongly with epididymal sperm proteins, but has little or no reactivity with testicular proteins. Western blot analysis revealed that this polyclonal antiserum recognized a 27 kDa protein extracted from the corpus epididymidis as well as from spermatozoa from the corpus and cauda epididymides, and immunostaining revealed the presence of the protein in the corpus to cauda epididymides. Stronger reactivity was observed in the supranuclear region and stereocilla of principal cells of the corpus epididymidis and in the luminal content of the corpus and cauda epididymides. The testicular section showed no reactivity. Treatment with the antiserum resulted in time- and dose-dependent agglutination of rat spermatozoa. By indirect immunofluorescence, the antiserum localized proteins in the mid-piece region of rat spermatozoa. Studies were carried out to determine the age at which the protein first became apparent during postnatal development. The protein was expressed from day 40 onwards, as demonstrated by western blot analysis. The androgen regulation of this protein was ascertained by castration and supplementation studies. Expression of this protein showed a decline starting at day 14 after castration and by day 21 the protein was absent; however, androgen replacement resulted in the reappearance of the protein. The results of these studies indicate that the protein identified is specific to the epididymis, and is regulated by development and androgens. The importance of epididymis-specific proteins that are regulated by androgens in sperm maturation is discussed, and the need to ascertain the sequence of the protein and clone the cognate gene is indicated.

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@article{Joshi2003PostnatalDA, title={Postnatal development and testosterone dependence of a rat epididymal protein identified by neonatal tolerization.}, author={Saurabh A Joshi and Shamim A. Shaikh and Sandeep A. Ranpura and Vrinda Vijay Khole}, journal={Reproduction}, year={2003}, volume={125 4}, pages={495-507} }