Glycan epitopes of cellular glycoconjugates act as versatile biochemical signals, and this sugar coding plays an important role in cell-to-cell recognition processes. In this study, our aims were to determine the distribution of sperm receptors with activity for fucosyl- and galactosyl glycans and to address whether monosugar neoglycoproteins functionally mimic the binding between zona pellucida (ZP) glycoproteins and spermatozoa. In mouse epididymal spermatozoa with intact acrosomes, fucopyranosyl bovine serum albumin (BSA-Fuc) bound to the segment of the acrosome, the equatorial segment, and the postacrosome region of the sperm head. Galactosyl BSA (BSA-Gal) binding activity was similar to that of BSA-Fuc, but was weaker. In acrosome-reacted spermatozoa treated with the Ca2+ ionophore A23187, BSA-zuc binding was lost in the apical segment of the acrosome but remained in the equatorial segment and postacrosome regions. BSA-Gal binding to the equatorial region was increased. In the presence of 2.5 μg ml-1 BSA-Fuc, in vitro sperm-ZP binding was significantly decreased, indicating that fucosyl BSA functionally mimics ZP glycoproteins during sperm-egg ZP interactions. At the same concentration, BSA-Gal was not effective. Fucosyl BSA that efficiently inhibited the sperm-ZP binding can mimic the ZP glycoconjugate and has potential for use as a sperm fertility control agent in mouse.
- Epididymal spermatozoa
- Zona pellucida