Identification, cloning and functional characterization of novel beta-defensins in the rat (Rattus norvegicus).
ABSTRACT: Beta-defensins are small cationic peptides that exhibit broad spectrum antimicrobial properties. The majority of beta-defensins identified in humans are predominantly expressed in the male reproductive tract and have roles in non-immunological processes such as sperm maturation and capacitation. Characterization of novel defensins in the male reproductive tract can lead to increased understanding of their dual roles in immunity and sperm maturation.In silico rat genomic analyses were used to identify novel beta-defensins related to human defensins 118-123. RNAs isolated from male reproductive tract tissues of rat were reverse transcribed and PCR amplified using gene specific primers for defensins. PCR products were sequenced to confirm their identity. RT-PCR analysis was performed to analyze the tissue distribution, developmental expression and androgen regulation of these defensins. Recombinant defensins were tested against E. coli in a colony forming unit assay to analyze their antimicrobial activities.Novel beta-defensins, Defb21, Defb24, Defb27, Defb30 and Defb36 were identified in the rat male reproductive tract. Defb30 and Defb36 were the most restricted in expression, whereas the others were expressed in a variety of tissues including the female reproductive tract. Early onset of defensin expression was observed in the epididymides of 10-60 day old rats. Defb21-Defb36 expression in castrated rats was down regulated and maintained at normal levels in testosterone supplemented animals. DEFB24 and DEFB30 proteins showed potent dose and time dependent antibacterial activity.Rat Defb21, Defb24, Defb27, Defb30 and Defb36 are abundantly expressed in the male reproductive tract where they most likely protect against microbial invasion. They are developmentally regulated and androgen is required for full expression in the adult epididymis.
Project description:Approximately 40-50 β-defensins are predominantly expressed in the male reproductive system of mammals. This selective expression raises the question as to the roles of these molecules in innate immunity and fertility in the male reproductive tract. Rat β-defensin 22 is an epididymis-specific β-defensin expressed in segments 12-14 of the epididymis. This protein contains both β-defensin and lectin signature sequences, yet its antimicrobial activity and carbohydrate-binding ability have not been shown. We herein demonstrated the antimicrobial activity of recombinant rat β-defensin 22 against Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. Its lectin-like activity was also investigated by demonstrating its binding ability with heparin beads. This heparin-binding activity implies some potential roles for this defensin in determining the fertilisation capabilities of sperm.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sperm binding proteins and their C-terminal peptides of the Sperm Associated Antigen 11 (SPAG11) family were found to play an important role in epididymal innate immunity in addition to their role in sperm maturation. However, the expression of Spag11 transcripts in rodents is not well documented. METHODS:Computational analysis was employed to identify novel Spag11 isoforms in the rat. RT-PCR analyses were carried out on RNAs isolated from the male reproductive tract tissues of rat using gene specific primers for Spag11c and Spag11t. The identities of PCR products were confirmed by sequencing. Tissue distribution, developmental expression and androgen regulation of Spag11t and Spag11c were studied using RT-PCR. The antimicrobial activities of recombinant Spag11t and Spag11c were tested against E coli in a colony forming unit assay. RESULTS:In this study, we identified two novel Spag11 transcripts, namely, Spag11t and Spag11c derived from the long arm of chromosome 16 in the rat (Rattus norvegicus), using both in silico and molecular biology approaches. Spag11c is expressed in all three regions of the epididymis, in testis and in ovary but is absent from the seminal vesicle. Spag11t expression is confined to the caput and it is not expressed in the testis, seminal vesicle or ovary. Age dependent expression of Spag11t and Spag11c was observed in the epididymides of rats (10-60 day old). Their expression was found to be most abundant in the adult rat (60 day) suggesting roles in mature reproductive function. Further, both Spag11t and Spag11c expression was down regulated in castrated rat epididymides and the expression was maintained in the testosterone replaced castrated rats. SPAG11C is a potent antibacterial agent. SPAG11T also displayed bactericidal capacity although weaker than SPAG11C and SPAG11E. CONCLUSION:The abundant expression of Spag11t and Spag11c in the male reproductive tract suggests an important role in male reproductive tract immunity. Their expression is developmentally regulated and androgen dependent. Characterization of novel SPAG11 isoforms will contribute to our understanding of the role of epididymal proteins in sperm maturation and innate immunity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The majority of beta-defensin family members are exclusively expressed in the epididymis, and some members have been shown to play essential roles in sperm maturation and fertility in rats, mice and humans. Therefore, beta-defensins are hypothesized to be potential targets for contraception and infertility diagnosis and treatment. Clarifying the regulatory mechanisms for the expression of these genes is necessary. Androgen/androgen receptor (AR) signaling plays an important regulatory role in epididymal structure and function. However, very little is known about the androgenic regulation on the production and secretion of the epididymal beta-defensins. METHODS: The expression of beta-defensins was detected by quantitative RT-PCR. The androgen dependence of beta-defensins was determined by bilateral orchiectomy and androgen supplementation. The androgen response elements (AREs) in the promoters of beta-defensins were identified using the MatInspector software. The binding of AR to AREs was assayed by ChIP-PCR/qPCR. RESULTS: We demonstrated that 23 mouse caput epididymal beta-defensins were differentially regulated by androgen/androgen receptor. Six genes, Defb18, 19, 20, 39, 41, and 42, showed full regulation by androgens. Ten genes, Defb15, 30, 34, 37, 40, 45, 51, 52, 22 and Spag11a, were partially regulated by androgens. Defb15, 18, 19, 20, 30, 34, 37, 39, 41, 42, 22 and Spag11a were associated with androgen receptor binding sites in their promoter or intronic regions, indicating direct regulation of AR. Six genes, Defb1, 12, 13, 29, 35, and spag11b/c, exhibited an androgen-independent expression pattern. One gene, Defb25, was highly dependent on testicular factors rather on androgens. CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides novel insights into the mechanisms of androgen regulation on epididymal beta-defensins, enabling a better understanding of the function of beta-defensins in sperm maturation and fertility.
Project description:Lysozyme-like proteins (LYZLs) belong to the class of c-type lysozymes and are not well characterized in many species including the rat. In this study, using in silico and molecular biology techniques, we report the identification, cloning and characterization of rat Lyzl4 gene and also determine the expression pattern of Lyzl1, Lyzl3 and Lyzl6. The rat Lyzl genes were found to be distributed on three chromosomes and all of them retained the characteristic eight cysteine signature of c-type lysozyme. Homology modeling of rat LYZL4 indicated that its structure is similar to that of the mouse SLLP1. In the male reproductive tract of rat, Lyzl gene expression was confined to the testis. Lyzl1 and Lyzl4 were found to be expressed in tissues beyond the male reproductive tract, whereas Lyzl3 and Lyzl6 were not. Lyzl expression in the developing (10-60 day old) rats was androgen dependent in the testis. Immunodetection using antibodies against rat LYZL4 revealed the presence of LYZL4 protein in the germinal layer of the testes and on the sperm tail. Recombinant LYZL4 did not exhibit antibacterial, muramidase and isopeptidase activities characteristic to c-type lysozyme. To the best of our knowledge, for the first time we report the characterization of Lyzl genes in the rat. Results of our study indicate that rat LYZL proteins may have an important role in male reproductive tract function.
Project description:The cysteine rich prostate and testis expressed (Pate) proteins identified till date are thought to resemble the three fingered protein/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor proteins. In this study, for the first time, we report the identification, cloning and characterization of rat Pate gene cluster and also determine the expression pattern. The rat Pate genes are clustered on chromosome 8 and their predicted proteins retained the ten cysteine signature characteristic to TFP/Ly-6 protein family. PATE and PATE-F three dimensional protein structure was found to be similar to that of the toxin bucandin. Though Pate gene expression is thought to be prostate and testis specific, we observed that rat Pate genes are also expressed in seminal vesicle and epididymis and in tissues beyond the male reproductive tract. In the developing rats (20-60 day old), expression of Pate genes seem to be androgen dependent in the epididymis and testis. In the adult rat, androgen ablation resulted in down regulation of the majority of Pate genes in the epididymides. PATE and PATE-F proteins were found to be expressed abundantly in the male reproductive tract of rats and on the sperm. Recombinant PATE protein exhibited potent antibacterial activity, whereas PATE-F did not exhibit any antibacterial activity. Pate expression was induced in the epididymides when challenged with LPS. Based on our results, we conclude that rat PATE proteins may contribute to the reproductive and defense functions.
Project description:Although recent evidence indicates that several chemokines and defensins, well-known as inflammatory mediators, are expressed in the male and female reproductive tracts, the location and functional significance of chemokine networks in sperm physiology and sperm reproductive tract interactions are poorly understood. To address this deficiency in our knowledge, we examined the expression and function in sperm of CCR6, a receptor common to several chemoattractant peptides, and screened several reproductive tract fluids for the presence of specific ligands. CCR6 protein is present in mouse and human sperm and mainly localized in the sperm tail with other minor patterns in sperm from mice (neck and acrosomal region) and men (neck and midpiece regions). As expected from the protein immunoblotting and immunofluorescence results, mouse Ccr6 mRNA is expressed in the testis. Furthermore, the Defb29 mRNA encoding the CCR6 ligand, ?-defensin DEFB29, is expressed at high levels in the epididymis. As determined by protein chip analysis, several chemokines (including some that act through CCR6, such as CCL20/MIP-3? (formerly macrophage inflammatory protein 3?) and protein hormones were present in human follicular fluid, endometrial secretions, and seminal plasma. In functional chemotaxis assays, capacitated human sperm exhibited a directional movement towards CCL20, and displayed modifications in motility parameters. Our data indicate that chemokine ligand/receptor interactions in the male and female genital tracts promote sperm motility and chemotaxis under non-inflammatory conditions. Therefore, some of the physiological reactions mediated by CCR6 ligands in male reproduction extend beyond a pro-inflammatory response and might find application in clinical reproduction and/or contraception.
Project description:Human sperm-associated antigen 11 (SPAG11) is closely related to beta-defensins in structure, expression, and function. Like the beta-defensins, SPAG11 proteins are predominantly expressed in the male reproductive tract, where their best-known major roles are in innate host defense and reproduction. Although several hypotheses have emerged to describe the evolution of beta-defensin and SPAG11 multifunctionality, few describe these multiple functions in terms of defensin interactions with specific proteins. To gain insight into the protein interaction potentials of SPAG11 and the signaling pathways that SPAG11 may influence, we used a yeast two-hybrid screening of a human testis-epididymis library. The results reveal human SPAG11B isoform D (SPAG11B/D) interactions with tryptase alpha/beta 1 (TPSAB1), tetraspanin 7 (TSPAN7), and attractin (ATRN). These interactions were confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation and glutathione S-transferase affinity matrix binding. SPAG11B/D and the three interacting proteins are expressed in the proximal epididymis, and all function in immunity and fertility pathways. We analyzed the functional consequences of SPAG11B/D interaction with TPSAB1 and showed that SPAG11B/D is both a substrate and a potent inhibitor of TPSAB1 activity. Furthermore, we show that (like SPAG11B/D) TSPAN7 and ATRN are associated with spermatozoa.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Spermatogenesis and sperm maturation in the male reproductive tract is dictated by a variety of proteins secreted in the testis and epididymis. Though the proteome of these tissues is known, the functional role of many of these proteins remains uncharacterized. In this study, we characterize the rat Lysozyme-like (Lyzl) genes and proteins. METHODS:In silico tools were used to predict the primary, secondary and tertiary structures. Reverse transcription PCR, immunofluorescence and immunoblotting were used to determine the expression pattern. Lysozyme like enzyme activity was assessed by standard assays. RESULTS:Six rat Lyzl genes namely Lyzl1, Lyzl3, Lyzl4, Lyzl5, Lyzl6 and Lyzl7 were found to be highly conserved among the vertebrates with higher homology to mouse counterparts than with human counterparts. All the LYZL proteins contained the characteristic 4 disulfide bridges similar to c-type lysozyme. Only LYZL 1 and 6, conserved the active site amino acids of the lysozyme. Molecular modeling studies indicated that LYZL proteins exhibit strikingly similar three-dimensional structures among themselves. The secondary structure analysis of the recombinant LYZL proteins indicated the presence of ?-helix, ?-sheet and random coil with ?-helix being the majority. Docking studies indicated the peptidoglycan binding nature of LYZL proteins. All the rat Lyzl mRNA transcripts (Lyzl1, Lyzl3, Lyzl4, Lyzl5, Lyzl6 and Lyzl7) are predominantly expressed in testes though some of them are expressed in tissues other than reproductive tract. Their expression was androgen independent. The rat LYZL proteins are localized in the germinal epithelium and on the spermatozoa. Recombinant LYZL1 and 6 possessed muramidase, isopeptidase and antibacterial activities. The mechanism of antibacterial action of LYZL1 and LYZL6 involved bacterial membrane damage and leakage of cellular contents. Only LYZL1 and 6 possess peptidoglycan binding ability, whereas LYZL3, LYZL4 and LYZL5 possess hyaluronan binding ability suggesting a possible functional divergence of these proteins. LYZL3, LYZL4 and LYZL7 possessed free radical scavenging property, suggesting that they may act as antioxidants. CONCLUSION:The divergent properties of LYZL proteins indicate that they may have a role in sperm function, innate immunity and other physiological process as well.
Project description:?-defensin peptides are a family of antimicrobial peptides present at mucosal surfaces, with the main site of expression under normal conditions in the male reproductive tract. Although they kill microbes in vitro and interact with immune cells, the precise role of these genes in vivo remains uncertain. We show here that homozygous deletion of a cluster of nine ?-defensin genes (Defb?9) in the mouse results in male sterility. The sperm derived from the mutants have reduced motility and increased fragility. Epididymal sperm isolated from the cauda should require capacitation to induce the acrosome reaction but sperm from the mutants demonstrate precocious capacitation and increased spontaneous acrosome reaction compared to wild-types but have reduced ability to bind the zona pellucida of oocytes. Ultrastructural examination reveals a defect in microtubule structure of the axoneme with increased disintegration in mutant derived sperm present in the epididymis cauda region, but not in caput region or testes. Consistent with premature acrosome reaction, sperm from mutant animals have significantly increased intracellular calcium content. Thus we demonstrate in vivo that ?-defensins are essential for successful sperm maturation, and their disruption leads to alteration in intracellular calcium, inappropriate spontaneous acrosome reaction and profound male infertility.
Project description:Defensins are members of a large diverse family of cationic antimicrobial peptides that share a signature pattern consisting of six conserved cysteine residues. Defensins have a wide variety of functions and their disruption has been implicated in various human diseases. Here we report the characterization of DEFB119-DEFB123, five genes in the human beta-defensin cluster locus on chromosome 20q11.1. The genomic structures of DEFB121 and DEFB122 were determined in silico. Sequences of the five macaque orthologs were obtained and expression patterns of the genes were analyzed in humans and macaque by semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Expression was restricted to the male reproductive tract. The genes in this cluster are differentially regulated by androgens. Evolutionary analyses suggest that this cluster originated by a series of duplication events and by positive selection. The evolutionary forces driving the proliferation and diversification of these defensins may be related to reproductive specialization and/or the host-parasite coevolutionary process.