This paper presents the partial characterization and the identification of an 80-kDa protein detected in bull spermatozoa using a monoclonal antibody directed against a 16-amino acid long peptide from the N-terminal domain of the protooncogene p60src from the Rous Sarcoma Virus When subjected to two-dimensional electrophoresis, this 80-kDa protein migrated as several isoforms, with an isoelectric point ranging from 7.4 to 8.2. Amino acid sequence analysis of a peptide obtained following trypsin digestion of the bull sperm protein showed homology to the PH-20/hyaluronidase precursor sperm protein. As for PH-20, this bull sperm 80-kDa protein is located at the plasma membrane surface in the postacrosomal region of the head. An increased immunolabeling in the anterior head region of fixed/permeabilized spermatozoa was observed when these cells were incubated under capacitating conditions, whereas most sperm cells challenged with the calcium ionophore A23187 to acrosome react lost their labeling almost completely. As for the PH-20 protein, the 80-kDa bull sperm protein possesses a hyaluronidase activity that is higher at pH 7.0 than at pH 4.0 in an in-gel assay. Unlike what has been observed in the guinea pig, mouse, and human PH-20, this 80-kDa protein was not released from the surface of bull spermatozoa by treatment with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C or with trypsin. However, this protein was not sedimented by a 100 000 × g centrifugation after nitrogen cavitation, which suggests that the 80-kDa protein is loosely attached to the sperm membrane by a yet-unknown mechanism. These results suggest that the 80-kDa bull sperm protein shares many homologies with the sperm PH-20 protein reported in the literature and, most likely, is the bull sperm homologue of the PH-20.
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