Three Binder of SPerm proteins (BSP1, BSP3, BSP5) are secreted by bovine seminal vesicles into seminal plasma and adsorbed onto sperm. When sperm inseminated into the female reach the oviduct, the BSP proteins bind them to its epithelial lining, forming a sperm storage reservoir. Previously, we reported that binding of capacitated sperm to oviductal epithelium in vitro is lower than that of uncapacitated sperm and we proposed that reduced binding was due to loss of BSP proteins during capacitation. Because of differences in amino acid sequences, we predicted that each BSP would respond differently to capacitating conditions. To test whether all three BSP proteins were lost from sperm during capacitation and whether the kinetics of loss differed among the three BSP proteins, ejaculated bull sperm were incubated under various capacitating conditions, and then the amounts of BSP proteins remaining on the sperm were assayed by Western blotting. Capacitation was assayed by analysis of protein tyrosine phosphorylation. While loss of BSP1 was not detected, most of the BSP5 was lost from sperm during incubation in TALP medium, even without addition of the capacitation enhancers heparin and dbcAMP-IBMX. Surprisingly, a smaller molecular mass was detected by anti-BSP3 antibodies in extracts of incubated sperm. Its identity was confirmed as BSP3 by mass spectrometry, indicating that BSP3 undergoes modification on the sperm surface. These changes in the composition of BSP proteins on sperm could play a role in releasing sperm from the storage reservoir by modifying sperm interactions with the oviductal epithelium.
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Vol. 87 • No. 4