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Publication Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry








Recent studies (e.g. Blackmore, P. F., Beebe, S. J., Danforth, D. R., and Alexander, N.) (1990) J. Biol. Chem. 265, 1376-1380) have shown that in human sperm, progesterone produces a rapid increase in intracellular free calcium ([Ca2+]i) and an induction of the acrosome reaction (e.g. Osman, R. A., Andria, M. L., Jones, A. D., and Meizel, S. (1989) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 160, 828-833). In this study, the location of progesterone receptors on the cell surface of human sperm was identified using progesterone immobilized on bovine serum albumin (BSA) (progesterone 3-(O-carboxymethyl)oxime:BSA) as well as progesterone and its 3-O-carboxymethyloxime derivative. Using fluorescence microscopy, BSA-fluorescein isothiocyanate was shown to be excluded from intact sperm, thus validating the use of progesterone 3-(O-carboxymethyl)oxime:BSA to identify cell surface-binding sites for progesterone. The immobilized progesterone and the 3-O-carboxymethyloxime derivative rapidly increased [Ca2+]i and were full agonists, although they were approximately 1.5 orders of magnitude less potent than progesterone. They also displayed an identical time course to increase [Ca2+]i as free progesterone, and the entire increase in [Ca2+]i was due to the influx of Ca2+. This progesterone-mediated response displayed different steroid receptor characteristics since the very potent inhibitors of genomic progesterone responses, RU38486 and ZK98.299, were very ineffective at inhibiting the progesterone-mediated increase in [Ca2+]i. Also the synthetic progestins megestrol, medroxyprogesterone acetate, norgestrel, norethynodrel, norethindrone, R5020, and cyproterone acetate did not mimic the effects of progesterone to increase [Ca2+]i. It is proposed that a distinct nongenomic cell surface receptor for progesterone exists in human sperm.

Original Publication Citation

Blackmore, P.F., Neulen, J., Lattanzio, F., & Beebe, S.J. (1991). Cell surface-binding sites for progesterone mediate calcium uptake in human sperm. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 266(28), 18655-18659.


0000-0002-6075-9452 (Beebe)