New treatments for infertility could be closer to reality, thanks to a discovery from scientists at the Université de Montréal and Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre.
According to a study published in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction, the researchers have become the first to clone, produce and purify a protein important for sperm maturation, termed Binder of Sperm (BSP), which may have implications for both fertility treatments and new methods of male contraception.
"We have previously isolated and characterized BSPs from many species, such as bulls and boars," says Dr. Puttaswamy Manjunath, senior author and a professor in the departments of medicine and of biochemistry at the Université de Montréal and a member of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre.
"For a few years, we were looking in the wrong place," says Dr. Manjunath. "In addition, the minute quantities of BSP produced in humans has made it impossible to isolate and characterize."
Cloning leads to purification
Dr. Manjunath and his team went back to the basics. Using molecular biology technique they cloned the gene (DNA) that encodes human BSP. Through cloning, they were able to produce and purify this protein.
"After considerable troubleshooting, we were able to produce functional human BSP. Our next steps are to confirm its biological role in human fertility," says Dr. Manjunath.
Role of BSPs in other animals
Following ejaculation, sperm undergo a complex series of modifications inside the female reproductive tract. The changes sperm undergo during this process include redistribution of surface proteins, loss of sperm membrane lipids and increased sperm movement. A family of sperm-binding proteins (BSPs) secreted by the seminal vesicles has been shown to be essential for sperm maturation in female reproductive tracts of cows, sheep, pigs and other hoofed animals.
Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > BSP > DNA > Human vaccine > Molecular Human Reproduction > Molecular Target > Reproduction > epididymis > fertility treatments > human BSP > infertility > key sperm-binding proteins > new methods of male contraception > seminal vesicles > sperm maturation > sperm-binding proteins
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