Antigens on rat spermatozoa with a potential role in fertilization

R. Shalgi, A. Matityahu, S. J. Gaunt, R. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eight monoclonal antibodies (McAbs), directed against antigens on rat cauda epididymal spermatozoa, were tested for their capacity to interfere with fertilization in vitro as a means of identifying molecules a potential role in sperm‐egg recognition and fusion. Antigens recognized by the McAbs were visualized on live spermatozoa by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) and characterized by immunoblotting. Five McAbs (designated 1B5, 2C4, 4B5, 5B1, and 8C4) recognized antigens specifically on the sperm acrosome and three (designated 2B1, 2D6, and 6B2) bound to the flagellum. Of the eight McAbs investigated, three (2B1, 2C4, and 6B2) were effective in blocking fertilization in vitro when added as culture supernalants to mixtures of sperm and eggs. McAb 6B2 was inhibitory due to its ability to agglutinate spermatozoa. McAbs 2B1 and 2C4 did not agglutinate capacitated spermatozoa, had no observable effect on motility, and yet blocked fertilization in a dose‐dependent manner. McAb 2C4 did not give a reaction on immunoblots, but the 2B1 antigen was identified as an Mr 40 kD glycoprotein. McAb 2B1 appeared to block fertilization at the level of zona binding, whereas the effects of 2C4 were directed more against zone penetration and/or fusion with the vitellus. When sperm‐egg complexes were stained with 2C4 or 2B1 McAbs and viewed by IIF, all spermatozoa that were attached to the zona showed fluorescence on the head. These results suggest that different antigens on the rat sperm head participate in different aspects of the fertilization process and that during capacitation there is either exposure of these antigens or else they migrate to their site of action from the flagellum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-296
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990


  • Monoclonal antibodies


Dive into the research topics of 'Antigens on rat spermatozoa with a potential role in fertilization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this