Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) have been raised against marsupial sperm proteins to provide insights into the molecular nature of marsupial spermatozoa, and the proteins that mediate sperm maturation and interaction with the oocyte. This study reports the production of a mAb, designated WSA-1, which bound acrosomal and surface determinants on tammar wallaby spermatozoa. The acrosomal antigen was first detected in the wallaby testis; however, ejaculated spermatozoa demonstrated whole cell WSA-1 immunoreactivity as a result of binding an epididymal protein. Ultrastructural and agglutination analyses localised the WSA-1 epitope to the acrosomal matrix and the whole sperm plasmalemma. The WSA-1 mAb bound three polypeptides with relative molecular weights of 35, 31 and 15 kDa on western blots under reducing conditions. The N-terminal amino acid sequence obtained for the 35 kDa wallaby sperm polypeptide demonstrated identity with the eutherian acrosomal protein acrosin. The 31 kDa polypeptide was of epididymal origin and will be the subject of a separate study. Further studies of the WSA-1 antigens are likely to provide useful insights into the function and maturation of marsupial sperm since proacrosin has a number of putative roles in eutherian fertilisation, and epididymal proteins are thought to mediate sperm maturation and storage.
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part a-Comparative Experimental Biology Vol. 303A, no. 8, p. 713-721