PAWP (postacrosomal sheath WW domain-binding protein) exclusively resides in the postacrosomal sheath (PAS) of the sperm perinuclear theca (PT). Because of the importance of this region in initiating oocyte activation during mammalian fertilization [Sutovsky, P., Manandhar, G., Wu, A., Oko, R., 2003. Interactions of sperm perinuclear theca with the oocyte: implications for oocyte activation, anti-polyspermy defense, and assisted reproduction. Microsc. Res. Tech. 61, 362-378; Wu, A., Sutovsky, P., Manandhar, G., Xu, W., Katayama, M., Day, B.N., Park, K.W., Yi, Y.J., Xi, Y.W., Prather, R.S., Oko, R., 2007. PAWP, A sperm specific ww-domain binding protein, promotes meiotic resumption and pronuclear development during fertilization. J. Biol. Chem. 282, 12164-12175], we were interested in resolving the origin and assembly of its proteins during spermatogenesis, utilizing PAWP as a model. Based on previous PT developmental studies, we predicted that the assembly of PAWP is dependent on microtubule-manchette protein transport and manchette descent and independent of subacrosomal PT formation. Consequently, we hypothesized that PAWP will colocalize with manchette microtubules during spermiogenesis. Utilizing specific antibodies, PAWP was first detected in the cytoplasmic lobe of spermatids beginning to undergo elongation and became most prominent in this region just prior to and during manchette descent. During this peak period, PAWP was concentrated over the manchette and colocalized with alpha- and beta-tubulin. It was then assembled as part of the PAS in the wake of manchette descent over the caudal half of the elongated spermatid nucleus. PAWP mRNA, on the other hand, was first detected in mid-pachytene spermatocytes, peaked by early round spermatids, and declined during spermatid elongation. In order to confirm that PAWP-PAS assembly was independent of subacrosomal PT development, PAWP immunolocalization was performed on the testes of NB-DNJ-treated mice which fail to form an acrosome and subacrosomal layer during spermiogenesis [van der Spoel, A.C., Jeyakumar, M., Butters, T.D., Charlton, H.M., Moore, H.D., Dwek, R.A., Platt, F.M., 2002. Reversible infertility in male mice after oral administration of alkylated imino sugars: a nonhormonal approach to male contraception. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99, 17173-17178] but whose elongated spermatids still retain egg-activating ability [Suganuma, R., Walden, C.M., Butters, T.D., Platt, F.M., Dwek, R.A., Yanagimachi, R., and van der Spoel, A.C., 2005. Alkylated imino sugars, reversible male infertility-inducing agents, do not affect the genetic integrity of male mouse germ cells during short-term treatment despite induction of sperm deformities. Biol. Reprod. 72, 805-813]. The same temporal and manchette-based pattern of PAWP-PAS assembly during spermiogenesis was evident as in controls supporting our hypothesis that PAS assembly is independent of subacrosomal PT formation and that egg-activating ability resides within the PAS.
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