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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 2949; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19102949

Expression of the O-Glycosylation Enzyme GalNAc-T3 in the Equatorial Segment Correlates with the Quality of Spermatozoa

1
Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
2
The Fertility Clinic, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
3
Copenhagen Center for Glycomics, Departments of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Odontology, Faculty of health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
4
International Center for Research and Research Training in Endocrine Disruption of Male Reproduction and Child Health (EDMaRC), Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology of Spermatozoa)
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Abstract

We question whether the expression of GalNAc-T3, the only known O-GalNAc-transferase present in germ cells, is correlated with qualitative and functional parameters of spermatozoa. We investigated the expression of GalNAc-T3 in ejaculated spermatozoa with immunocytochemistry in swim-up purified and acrosome-reacted spermatozoa from quality-control semen donors and in semen samples from 206 randomly selected men representing a broad spectrum of semen quality. Using donor ejaculates and immunofluorescence detection we found that expression of GalNAc-T3 and the presence of the immature O-glycans Tn and T localized to the equatorial segment of spermatozoa. The proportion of GalNAc-T3-positive spermatozoa in the ejaculate increased after swim-up and appeared unaffected by induction of acrosomal exocytosis. The fraction of spermatozoa with equatorial expression of GalNAc-T3 correlated with classical semen parameters (concentration p = 9 × 10−6, morphology p = 7 × 10−8, and motility p = 1.8 × 10−5) and was significantly lower in men with oligoteratoasthenozoospermia (p = 0.0048). In conclusion, GalNAc-T3 was highly expressed by motile spermatozoa and the expression correlated positively with the classical semen parameters. Therefore, GalNAc-T3 expression seems related to the quality of the spermatozoa, and we propose that reduced expression of GalNAc-T3 may lead to impaired O-glycosylation of proteins and thereby abnormal maturation and reduced functionality of the spermatozoa. View Full-Text
Keywords: GalNAc-T3; GALNT3; Male fertility; Semen quality; Mucin-type O-linked glycosylation; Spermatozoa GalNAc-T3; GALNT3; Male fertility; Semen quality; Mucin-type O-linked glycosylation; Spermatozoa
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Nygaard, M.B.; Herlihy, A.S.; Jeanneau, C.; Nielsen, J.E.; Bennett, E.P.; Jørgensen, N.; Clausen, H.; Mandel, U.; Rajpert-De Meyts, E.; Almstrup, K. Expression of the O-Glycosylation Enzyme GalNAc-T3 in the Equatorial Segment Correlates with the Quality of Spermatozoa. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2949.

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