Localization of Hsp60 and Grp78 in the human testis, epididymis and mature spermatozoa.

  • Publication date : 2010-05-21


Lachance C, Fortier M, Thimon V, Sullivan R, Bailey JL, Leclerc P. Localization of Hsp60 and Grp78 in the human testis, epididymis and mature spermatozoa. Int. J. Androl. 2010;33:33-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2008.00948.x. PubMed PMID: 19207617.

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adult blotting, western epididymis fertilization gene expression heat-shock proteins humans immunohistochemistry male middle aged molecular chaperones spermatids spermatogenesis spermatozoa testis young adult


Molecular chaperones of the heat shock proteins (HSP) family are important in numerous cellular processes. In this study, the expression of Hsp60 and Grp78 proteins was investigated in the male reproductive tract. The cellular distribution of Hsp60 and Grp78 proteins was analysed in the human testis and epididymis by immunohistochemical approaches. DNA microarray technology was used to analyse HSP60 and GRP78 gene expression along human epididymis. The cellular localization of these chaperone proteins in ejaculated spermatozoa was investigated by indirect immunofluorescence and by Western blot following sperm sub-cellular fractionation. In the human testis, Hsp60 was detected in spermatogonia, whereas a strong Grp78 staining was observed in spermatocytes and round spermatids. Grp78 protein was also observed in the epididymal epithelium, whereas no Hsp60 staining was observed in this organ by immunohistochemistry. The presence of both Hsp60 and Grp78 RNA in human epididymis was confirmed by microarrays. In ejaculated spermatozoa, Hsp60 was localized in the mid-piece, whereas Grp78 was detected in the neck region. These results indicate that in addition to being expressed in human testis spermatogenic cells, both Hsp60 and Grp78 proteins persist in ejaculated spermatozoa. These findings are in agreement with the involvement of Hsp60 and Grp78 during spermatogenesis and in sperm functions such as fertilization.