Impaired E-cadherin expression in human spermatozoa in a male factor infertility subset signifies E-cadherin-mediated adhesion mechanisms operative in sperm-oolemma interactions

Sharad B Purohit, M. Brahmaraju, Abha Palta, Sunita Shukla, Malini Laloraya, Pradeep G. Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Cadherins comprise a family of calcium-dependent glycoproteins that function in mediating cell-cell adhesion in virtually all solid tissues of multicellular organisms. We have examined the presence of a cadherin on spermatozoon and its possible involvement in sperm-oocyte interaction. Spermatozoa from fertile human subjects showed the presence of E-cadherin on its head domains, detectable only after permeabilization of the surface membranes. On the contrary, spermatozoa from oligozoospermic subjects did not possess E-cadherin on their principal acrosomal and equatorial domains. Immunoprecipitation and Western blot studies also showed the presence of E-cadherin in spermatozoa from fertile males and its absence in oligozoospermic males. Using RT-PCR, we detected E-cadherin message in the round cells of fertile males, which was absent in the cells from oligozoospermic males. The presence of anti-E-cadherin antibody brought about quantitative reduction in the sperm-oocyte binding in vitro. These observations indicate the possibility of the interplay of a cadherin-dependent homophilic and/or heterophilic adhesion interaction between spermatozoa and oocyte during fertilization. The absence of a key adhesion molecule in a human male infertility disorder points towards genetic defects causing failure in gamete interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-909
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 9 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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