When mares are inseminated repeatedly, protein molecules from the seminal plasma (SP) prevent sperm-neutrophil binding and reduced fertility. The molecule(s) responsible for sperm-neutrophil binding is not known and the identification of beneficial SP proteins is complicated by their large numbers and abundant variation. We examined several important aspects of sperm-neutrophil binding to ultimately facilitate the identification and isolation of the molecule(s) responsible. First, we raised anti-equine P-selectin antibodies to determine the involvement of this adhesion molecule in sperm-neutrophil binding. While these antibodies identified equine P-selectin, they did not inhibit sperm-neutrophil binding. However, acrosome-reacted equine sperm expressed a molecule similar to the ligand recognition unit of P-selectin. Second, we attempted to characterize SP protein binding to equine sperm and gauge their affinity. Biotinylated SP proteins were incubated with fresh sperm, washed over a viscous medium, electrophoresed, and probed with avidin. Several SP proteins bound to sperm with a strong affinity to withstand these treatments. This finding may prove valuable for future attempts to identify and characterize specific SP molecules. Lastly, we compared the secretions from male sex organs/glands on sperm motility, sperm-neutrophil binding, and their protein profile. We expected fewer proteins from individual organs/glands, which would facilitate isolation and identification of target molecules. While each secretion had a varying effect on motility and sperm-neutrophil binding, the protein profile was as complex as that seen in whole SP, indicating that collection of proteins from individual sources will not facilitate this work. Together, these experiments answer several important questions related to sperm-neutrophil binding, sperm-SP proteins interaction, and the complexity of the SP proteome.
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Vol. 92 • No. 4