A family of proteins designated BSP-A1, BSP-A2, BSP-A3, and BSP-30-kDa, collectively called BSP (bovine seminal plasma) proteins, constitute the major protein fraction of bull seminal plasma. BSP proteins can stimulate sperm capacitation by inducing cholesterol and phospholipid efflux from sperm. Boar seminal plasma contains one homologous protein of the BSP family, named pB1; however, its physiological role is still unknown. In the current study, we report a novel method to purify pB1 from boar seminal plasma by chondroitin sulfate B-affinity chromatography and reverse-phase-high performance liquid chromatography. We also studied the effect of pB1, BSP-A1/-A2, and whole boar seminal plasma on boar sperm capacitation. Boar epididymal sperm were washed, preincubated in noncapacitating medium containing pB1 (0, 2.5, 5, 10 or 20 μg/ml), BSP-A1/-A2 (0 or 20 μg/ml) proteins, or whole seminal plasma (0, 250, 500, or 1000 μg/ml), then washed and incubated in capacitating medium. Acrosomal integrity was assessed by chlortetracycline staining. The status of sperm capacitation was evaluated by the capacity of sperm to undergo the acrosome reaction initiated by the addition of the calcium ionophore, A23187. The pB1 and BSP-A1/-A2 proteins increased epididymal sperm capacitation as compared with control (sperm preincubated without proteins). This effect reached a maximum level at 10 μg/ml pB1 and at 20 μg/ml BSP-A1/-A2 (2.3- and 2.2-fold higher than control, respectively). Whole boar seminal plasma did not induce sperm capacitation. In addition, pB1 bound to boar epididymal sperm and was lost during capacitation. These results indicate that BSP proteins and their homologs in other species induce sperm capacitation in a similar way.
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Vol. 76 • No. 3