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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Localization of cholesteryl sulfate in human spermatozoa in support of a hypothesis for the mechanism of capacitation.


PMID 6950375

Abstract

Cholesteryl sulfate is a normal constituent of human spermatozoa. The in vitro uptake of tritiated cholesteryl sulfate resulted in the labeling of all spermatozoa as demonstrated by light-microscope radioautography. The binding of the sterol sulfate was localized mainly in the head and midpiece. Radioautography at the level of the electron microscope revealed that the sterol sulfate is localized on the plasma membrane, mostly in the region of the acrosome. Further proof of this localization was obtained by selective dissolution of the plasma membrane and acrosome of the spermatozoa with low concentrations of Triton X-100. This treatment resulted in the simultaneous removal of tritiated cholesteryl sulfate bound to the spermatozoa. A hypothesis is presented concerning the role of cholesteryl sulfate as a membrane stabilizer and enzyme inhibitor during the maturation of spermatozoa in the epididymis. According to this hypothesis, the cleavage of the sulfate moiety within the female reproductive tract triggers a cascade of events leading to sperm capacitation and fertilization.

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C9523
Sodium cholesteryl sulfate
C27H45NaO4S