Enzymes of adenosine metabolism in mouse sperm suspensions

in Reproduction

Summary. The enzymes of adenosine metabolism were investigated in suspensions of epididymal mouse spermatozoa incubated under conditions which support capacitation in vitro. High levels of adenosine deaminase activity were found in sperm suspensions, but the enzyme was located in the surrounding medium and was not intrinsic to spermatozoa. 5′-Nucleotidase was also present in the surrounding medium while in sperm cells it existed as an ecto-enzyme. Adenosine was not metabolized by washed spermatozoa under conditions used for the assay of adenosine deaminase or adenosine kinase, but it was metabolized rapidly by unwashed sperm suspensions. Incubation of sperm suspensions in conditions which modulate fertilizing ability resulted in small alterations in intrinsic 5′-nucleotidase activity of spermatozoa. In contrast, the activity of adenosine deaminase was not consistently modulated by such maniupulations. Adenosine deaminase and 5′-nucleotidase exhibited similar kinetic parameters to enzymes from other sources and their activities were inhibited by coformycin and α,β-methylene adenosine 5′-diphosphate, respectively. These studies highlight the low adenosine-metabolizing ability of spermatozoa coupled with the extensive metabolism in the medium which surrounds them. Extracellular adenosine metabolism can therefore occur and may modulate capacitation in vitro.

Keywords: adenosine; adenosine deaminase; 5′-nucleotidase; spermatozoa

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