Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Original Article

Lectin spatial immunolocalization during in vitro capacitation in Tursiops truncatus spermatozoa

Laura Robles-Gómez; María del Carmen Fuentes-Albero; Natalia Huerta-Retamal; Paula Sáez-Espinosa; Daniel García-Párraga; Alejandro Romero; María José Gómez-Torres

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Abstract: Spermatozoa interactions with the female reproductive tract and oocyte are regulated by surface molecules such as glycocalyx. The capacitation process comprises molecular and structural modifications which increase zona pellucida binding affinity. Lectins allowed us to describe glycocalyx changes during maturation, capacitation and acrosome reaction. This study had as its aim to identify lectin binding patterns using four lectins with different carbohydrate affinity in bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) spermatozoa both before and after in vitro capacitation. Two semen samples from the same dolphin obtained on consecutive days were used, with four different lectin binding patterns becoming visible in both samples before and after capacitation. A highly stained equatorial segment with prolongations at the edges appeared as the most frequent pattern with Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) in uncapacitated spermatozoa. However, it was homogeneously distributed over the acrosomal region after capacitation. Instead, the use of Peanut agglutinin (PNA) resulted in most spermatozoa showing high labelling in the acrosomal periphery region before capacitation and a homogeneous staining in the acrosomal region within the population of capacitated spermatozoa. Nevertheless, the most representative patterns with Concavalin A (ConA) and Aleuria aurantia agglutinin (AAA) lectins did not change before and after capacitation, labelling the acrosomal region periphery. These findings could contribute to the understanding of the reproductive biology of cetaceans and the improvement of sperm selection techniques.


bottlenose dolphin, sperm capacitation, lectin


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