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Proper ubiquitination effect on the fertilisation outcome post-ICSI

Authors

  • M. Eskandari-Shahraki,

    1. Department of Reproduction and Development, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Biotechnology, ACECR, Isfahan, Iran
    2. Department of Physiology, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
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  • M. Tavalaee,

    1. Department of Reproduction and Development, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Biotechnology, ACECR, Isfahan, Iran
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  • M. R. Deemeh,

    1. Department of Reproduction and Development, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Biotechnology, ACECR, Isfahan, Iran
    2. Isfahan Fertility and Infertility Center, Isfahan, Iran
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  • Gh. A. Jelodar,

    1. Department of Physiology, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
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  • M. H. Nasr-Esfahani

    Corresponding author
    1. Isfahan Fertility and Infertility Center, Isfahan, Iran
    2. Department of Embryology, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran
    • Department of Reproduction and Development, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Biotechnology, ACECR, Isfahan, Iran
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Correspondence

Mohammad H. Nasr-Esfahani, Department of Embryology, Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran.

Tel.: +‏98 311 2612900;

Fax: +‏98 311 2605525;

E-mail: mh.nasr-esfahani@royaninstitute.org

Summary

Ubiquitin is an 8.5-kDa protein that tags outlived proteins for degradation by the proteasome. It also marks defective spermatozoa during epididymal passage and has been proposed as a biomarker of sperm quality. This study evaluates the relationship between sperm ubiquitination, protamine deficiency, semen parameters and fertilisation rate in infertile individuals undergoing the intracytoplasmic sperm insemination (ICSI) procedure. Semen samples from 73 ICSI candidates were collected and analysed according to World Health Organization criteria. A portion of each sample was evaluated for sperm ubiquitination using the sperm ubiquitin tag immunoassay (SUTI) with flow cytometry, and protamine deficiency by chromomycin A3 (CMA3) staining. In addition, the relationship between the fertilisation rate and sperm ubiquitination was calculated in ICSI candidates. The intensity of ubiquitination showed a significant negative correlation with sperm concentration (r = −0.255, P = 0.032) and a positive correlation with fertilisation rate (r = 0.384, P = 0.013) post-ICSI. No correlation was observed between protamine deficiency and the percentage of ubiquitination or ubiquitination intensity. The results of this study suggest that sperm ubiquitination prior to capacitation may be considered as a marker of defective spermatozoon. Spermatozoa that undergo proper ubiquitination may have a higher chance for fertilisation, because they are made redundant by the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway in the epididymis compared to hypo-ubiquitinated spermatozoa.

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