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Dephosphorylation of sperm midpiece antigens initiates aster formation in rabbit oocytes

, : Dephosphorylation of sperm midpiece antigens initiates aster formation in rabbit oocytes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 91(17): 7894-7898

During fertilization in most mammals, the penetrating sperm organizes an aster of microtubules. We have investigated the mechanisms underlying this function of the sperm by a series of experiments based on microinjection of isolated sperm midpieces into unfertilized oocytes. These midpieces contain antigens recognized by the MPM-2 antibody. These antigens, which are absent from the rest of the tail fraction, correspond to three phosphorylated polypeptides of 77, 81, and 85 kDa. Dephosphorylation with alkaline phosphatase abolishes antigenicity on blots and in whole sperm. Reactivity to the antibody disappears between 1 and 3 hr after calcium stimulation of oocytes, following the decline in H1 kinase activity and coincident with aster formation. In unactivated oocytes, no aster forms and the antigen remains unchanged. MPM-2 treatment of midpieces prior to injection blocks their ability to form asters in oocytes activated by calcium stimulation. The epitope also disappears in 6-methyl-aminopurine-treated oocytes, implying that maintenance of the phosphorylated state requires kinase activity. A result that confirms this view is that sperm midpieces dephosphorylated by alkaline phosphatase can be rephosphorylated after injection into oocytes or by exposure in vitro to a Xenopus oocyte cytoplasmic fraction high in H1 kinase activity. We suggest that the microtubule nucleation activity of sperm midpieces after fertilization is triggered by the calcium-induced decrease in maturation promoting factor, which results in dephosphorylation of specific sperm centrosomal proteins.

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Accession: 002590557

PMID: 7520171

DOI: 10.2307/2365595

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