Organization of Membrane Rafts in Chicken Sperm
Being transcriptionally and translationally inactive, sperm must utilize preassembled pathways into specific compartments in which they function to fertilize ovum. Membrane rafts are specific membrane regions enriched in sterols and glycosphingolipids such as ganglioside G<sub>M1</sub> (G<sub>M1</sub>) and play an important role in a variety of cellular functions. Recent findings have demonstrated that membrane rafts are present in mammalian sperm and are involved in regulating the induction of acrosome exocytosis. However, no information is available on whether avian sperm possess membrane rafts. Thus, we investigated the organization of membrane rafts in chicken sperm. Our localization experiments for G<sub>M1</sub> and sterols showed that the plasma membrane overlaying the sperm head possesses specific membrane domains enriched in both aforementioned lipids. Caveolin-1, which localizes into membrane rafts in other systems, was localized only to the sperm tail. Based on the biochemical definition that membrane rafts are insoluble membranes when subjected to a Triton X-100 treatment, we isolated detergent-insoluble membranes from chicken sperm and quantified the G<sub>M1</sub> content, which showed an enrichment of G<sub>M1</sub> in the membrane fraction relative to the detergent-soluble fraction. Together with the results of localization and biochemical experiments, we demonstrate for the first time that membrane rafts exist in chicken sperm. Thus, our results provide a foundation for investigating a novel cellular pathway inherent in avian sperm membranes that might be involved in functions necessary to achieve fertilization.
日本家禽学会誌 53(3), 233-239, 2016