Spam1 (PH-20) expression in the extratesticular duct and accessory organs of the mouse: a possible role in sperm fluid reabsorption.Biol Reprod. 2004 Oct; 71(4):1101-7.BR
A widely conserved sperm antigen, the sperm adhesion molecule 1 (SPAM1 or PH-20) is a glycosylphosphatidyl inositol-linked protein with multiple roles in mammalian fertilization. It has been shown to be dually expressed in testis and epididymis and this is conserved in the four species (mouse, rat, macaques, humans) that have been studied to date. Here, we report Spam1 RNA and protein expression in the murine vas deferens and efferent ducts. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry indicate that transcript and protein are distributed in the nonciliated epithelial cells and that the efferent ducts have the most intense staining of all three regions of the excurrent ducts. Spam1 products were also present in the accessory organs, the prostate, and seminal vesicles and its fluid. Using hyaluronic acid substrate gel electrophoresis, hyaluronidase activity at pH 7.0 was detected in the vas deferens but was absent from the efferent ducts, the prostate, and the seminal vesicles/fluid. This suggests that Spam1 may play a nonenzymatic role in these organs. In the efferent ducts, where Spam1 is enriched in the apical (but not basolateral) membrane of nonciliated cells, it is likely to play a role in sperm concentration, which is the established function of that organ.