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  • Author: K W Lovercamp x
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K A Fischer, K Van Leyen, K W Lovercamp, G Manandhar, M Sutovsky, D Feng, T Safranski and P Sutovsky

Lipoxygenases (LOXs) are a family of enzymes capable of peroxidizing phospholipids. A member of the LOX family of enzymes, 15-LOX, participates in the degradation of mitochondria and other organelles within differentiating red blood cells, the reticulocytes. The present study provides biochemical and immunocytochemical evidence for the presence of 15-LOX in the sperm cytoplasmic droplet (CD). Testicular, epididymal and ejaculated spermatozoa were evaluated for the presence of 15-LOX using an affinity-purified immune serum raised against a synthetic peptide corresponding to the C-terminal sequence of rabbit reticulocyte 15-LOX. Western blotting revealed an appropriate single band of ~81 kDa in boar spermatozoa but not in boar seminal plasma. When ejaculated boar spermatozoa were subjected to separation on a 45/90% Percoll gradient, 15-LOX co-migrated with the immotile sperm and cellular debris/CD fractions, but not with the motile sperm fraction containing morphologically normal spermatozoa without CDs. Varied levels of 15-LOX were expressed in ejaculated sperm samples from boars with varied semen quality. By immunofluorescence, prominent 15-LOX immunoreactivity was found within the residual body in the testis and within the CDs from caput, corpus and cauda epididymal and ejaculated spermatozoa. Components of the ubiquitin-dependent proteolytic pathway, which is thought to facilitate both spermiogenesis and reticulocyte organelle degradation, were also detected in the sperm CD. These included ubiquitin, the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2, the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase PGP 9.5, and various 20S proteasomal core subunits of the α- and β-type. The 15-LOX and various components of the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway were also detected in sperm CDs of other mammalian species, including the human, mouse, stallion and wild babirusa boar. We conclude that 15-LOX is prominently present in the mammalian sperm CD and thus may contribute to spermiogenesis, CD function or CD removal.