The Biochemical journal

Hyaluronidase in ram semen. Quantitative determination, and isolation of multiple forms.

PMID 3421926


A study was made of hyaluronidase in ram semen. The end-group assay conditions used to determine activity quantitatively were chosen to ensure reliability as well as sensitivity [Gacesa, Savitsky, Dodgson & Olavesen (1981) Anal. Biochem. 118, 76-84]; they led to 1 W.H.O. Standard International Hyaluronidase Unit displaying 0.1263 EC munit (1 EC unit of activity releases 1 mumol equivalent of N-acetylglucosamine end groups/min at 37 degrees C). All the activity in the semen was shown to be sperm-derived, and intact spermatozoa were estimated to contain 1.23 EC units per 10(9) cells. In a low-ionic-strength medium, only some 20% of the hyaluronidase was extractable, although up to 80% of the activity could be extracted as the ionic strength was increased; further addition of detergent extracted the remainder. During purification of the enzyme, it was found that inclusion of poly(vinyl alcohol) in the media stabilized the activity; detergent inclusion also improved the yield, especially during early stages. As a consequence both of reliable quantitative determination and of stabilization, a number of forms of hyaluronidase could be isolated in high yield, by using anion-exchange chromatography, cation-exchange chromatography, affinity chromatography and gel filtration. The existence of all these forms was confirmed by electrophoresis and immunoblotting with the use of a monoclonal anti-(ram hyaluronidase) antibody, and their presence in very freshly prepared sperm extracts was demonstrated. The specific activity of the isolated major hyaluronidase form was 15.0 EC units/mg; this was equivalent to 119,000 W.H.O. units/mg, higher than any other previously reported values.