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Volume 12, Issue 3 (May 2010) 12, 363–375; 10.1038/aja.2009.98

Molecular heterogeneity of gelatin-binding proteins from human seminal plasma

Maja M. Kosanović, Miroslava M. Janković

Department for Immunochemistry and Glycobiology, Institute for the Application of Nuclear Energy-INEP, University of Belgrade, Banatska 31b, Zemun-Belgrade 11080, Serbia

Correspondence: Dr Miroslava M. Janković,miraj@inep.co.rs

Received 16 September 2009; Revised 15 November 2009; Accepted 2 January 2010; Published online 22 February 2010.


Defining the molecular characteristics of seminal plasma proteins is essential for understanding their function in physiological and pathological conditions. Starting from the predicted importance of human seminal plasma gelatin-binding proteins, comprising fibronectin (FN) and FN-related molecules, for male fertility, this study aims at gaining insight into their immuno-glycobiochemical properties. Human seminal plasma from subjects with normal semen parameters were separated on a gelatin–Sepharose column and analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting using antibodies against distinct FN forms. Heterogeneity of the isolated molecular species was examined by protein chip arrays combined with surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry, on normal, metal and hydrophobic surfaces. Carbohydrate composition was investigated using mannose-, fucose- and sialic acid-specific plant lectins and galectin-1. The results obtained indicated a pattern of isolated proteins corresponding to that of known FN fragments, as confirmed by immunoreactivity. Among them heparin-binding ability was preferentially associated with low molecular mass species. As for posttranslational modifications, phosphorylation and glycosylation of distinct fragments were revealed. Lectin binding to fragments containing the gelatin-binding domain, particularly with Ricinus communis agglutinin I, was stronger than to fragments containing the cell-binding site of FN. A low level of sialylation and distinctive concanavalin A- and Lens culinaris agglutinin-reactive species were also observed. Galectin-1 did not interact with the isolated preparation. Resolving the molecular heterogeneity of normal human seminal plasma FN and gaining initial insight into possible similarities/differences with known FN molecular species may be considered a prerequisite step preceding challenging the clinical usefulness of these molecular properties.

Keywords: fibronectin; gelatin-binding; glycosylation; heparin-binding; human seminal plasma

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