Detection and location of the enzymes of de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis in mammalian spermatozoa

in Reproduction
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Enzymes of the pathway for de novo biosynthesis of pyrimidine nucleotides have been reported in spermatozoa from fruitfly and mammals. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that the enzymes for biosynthesis of uridine monophosphate (UMP) are concentrated near the mitochondria, which are segregated in the mid-piece of spermatozoa. Baby hamster kidney fibroblasts were compared with spermatozoa from rams, boars, bulls and men. Antibodies raised against synthetic peptides from sequences of the multienzyme polypeptides containing glutamine-dependent carbamyl phosphate synthetase, aspartate transcarbamylase and dihydroorotase (CAD) and UMP synthase, which catalyse reactions 1-3 and 5-6, respectively, were used, together with an affinity-purified antibody raised against dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), the mitochondrial enzyme for step 4. Western blot analysis, immunofluorescent microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy confirmed that CAD and UMP synthase are found in the cytoplasm around and outside the mitochondria; DHODH is found exclusively inside the mitochondria. CAD was also located in the nucleus, where it has been reported in the nuclear matrix, and in the cytoplasm, apparently associated with the cytoskeleton. It is possible that CAD in the cytoplasm has a role unconnected with pyrimidine biosynthesis.


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