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R. A. P. Harrison and S. J. Gaunt

Summary. Two monoclonal anti-sperm hyaluronidase-producing cell lines were isolated following inoculation of mice with ram sperm hyaluronidase monomer. Both lines produced antibodies of the IgG1 class; these bound to ram hyaluronidase after 'Western blotting' but did not recognize the native enzyme. Whereas the IA4 antibody was specific for ram hyaluronidase, and did not react with 'blotted' bull, boar or rabbit hyaluronidase, the 1D6 antibody recognized bull as well as ram hyaluronidase.

The antibodies could be used for immunocytochemical localization of hyaluronidase in fixed spermatozoa. However, although some form of denaturation was required to unmask or form the epitopes with which the antibodies reacted, the degree and type of fixation required was critical, for the epitopes were readily destroyed; in particular, they were very sensitive to chemical modification such as glutaraldehyde treatment.

It could be demonstrated that, like ram, bull spermatozoa contained an extended oligomeric family of hyaluronidase forms, apparently the result of intermolecular disulphide cross-linking of monomers. In spermatozoa of both species, the enzyme was confined to the anterior acrosomal region of the head.

Keywords: hyaluronidase; spermatozoa; bull; ram; monoclonal antibodies