Bovine seminal plasma (BSP) contains a family of novel phospholipid-binding proteins (BSP-A1/-A2, BSP-A3, and BSP-30-kDa; collectively called BSP proteins) that potentiate sperm capacitation induced by heparin or by serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL). BSP proteins stimulate lipid efflux from sperm that may occur during the early events of capacitation. Here, we investigated the role of BSP proteins, bovine follicular fluid (FF), and bovine follicular fluid HDL (FF-HDL) in sperm capacitation. FF and FF-HDL alone stimulated epididymal sperm capacitation (19.5% ± 0.8% and 18.2% ± 2.8%, respectively, control, 9.0% ± 1.9%) that was increased by preincubation with BSP-A1/-A2 proteins (30.2% ± 0.4% and 30.9% ± 1.5%, respectively). In contrast, lipoprotein-depleted follicular fluid (LD-FF) alone was ineffective, and a preincubation with BSP-A1/-A2 proteins was necessary before sperm capacitation was stimulated (up to 22.8% ± 1.4%). The interaction of BSP proteins with FF components was analyzed using ultracentrifugation, Lipo-Gel electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE, and gel filtration. We established that the BSP proteins interact with factors present in FF including FF-HDL. Additionally, we obtained evidence that BSP proteins, found associated with FF-HDL, were released from the sperm membrane during capacitation. These results confirm that the BSP proteins and the FF-HDL play a role in sperm capacitation.
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