• Sperm antigen;
  • Testis;
  • Blood-testis;
  • barrier;
  • Antisperm antibodies


The fertiization antigen (FA-1) isolated from murine testes demonstrated its dimeric form of 49,000 ± 2,000 molecular weight (M.W.) or a monomer of 23,000 M.W. on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). The FA-1 was immunogenic in all three female rabbits tested and raised a high-titer antisera [enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) titers; 1:1,024 to 1:4,096]. The rabbit anti-FA-1 antisera predominantly recognized the dimeric form of 49,000 ± 2,000 M.W. on the Western blot of lithium diiodosalicylate (LIS)-solubilized murine testes. None of the antisera reacted with any somatic tissue, indicating germ-cell specificity of FA-1. To determine the cellular localization of the immunoreactive FA-1, a novel ultrasensitive immunogold-silver staining (IGSS) procedure was developed. The anti-FA-1-lgG showed intense staining in the luminal region of the seminiferous tubules containing spermatids and spermatozoa. No reaction was observed in the peripheral area of the tubules containing Sertoli cells, spermatogonia, leptotene, and zygotene spermatocytes. The biodistribution studies of 125I-labeled anti-FA-1 lgG in mice revealed that the antibodies do not bind to somatic tissues such as blood cell, liver, heart, kidney, muscle, and gastrointestinal tissue and do not transudate into testes nad seminal vesicle. However, the antibodies preferentially transudate into epididymis (especially corpus or cauda regions) and vas deferens to bind to sperm cells. In conclusion, our data indicate that FA-1 can induce an immune response that is germ cell-specific, directed against later stages of spermatogenesis. The antibodies to FA-1 interact with sperm after penetration through epididymis (especially corpus and cauda regions) and vas deferens rather than through testes and seminal vesicles.