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PloS one

Sperm from hyh mice carrying a point mutation in alphaSNAP have a defect in acrosome reaction.


PMID 19305511

Abstract

Hydrocephalus with hop gait (hyh) is a recessive inheritable disease that arose spontaneously in a mouse strain. A missense mutation in the Napa gene that results in the substitution of a methionine for isoleucine at position 105 (M105I) of alphaSNAP has been detected in these animals. alphaSNAP is a ubiquitous protein that plays a key role in membrane fusion and exocytosis. In this study, we found that male hyh mice with a mild phenotype produced morphologically normal and motile sperm, but had a strongly reduced fertility. When stimulated with progesterone or A23187 (a calcium ionophore), sperm from these animals had a defective acrosome reaction. It has been reported that the M105I mutation affects the expression but not the function of the protein. Consistent with an hypomorphic phenotype, the testes and epididymides of hyh mice had low amounts of the mutated protein. In contrast, sperm had alphaSNAP levels indistinguishable from those found in wild type cells, suggesting that the mutated protein is not fully functional for acrosomal exocytosis. Corroborating this possibility, addition of recombinant wild type alphaSNAP rescued exocytosis in streptolysin O-permeabilized sperm, while the mutant protein was ineffective. Moreover, addition of recombinant alphaSNAP. M105I inhibited acrosomal exocytosis in permeabilized human and wild type mouse sperm. We conclude that the M105I mutation affects the expression and also the function of alphaSNAP, and that a fully functional alphaSNAP is necessary for acrosomal exocytosis, a key event in fertilization.