USP8/UBPy-regulated sorting and the development of sperm acrosome: the recruitment of MET
The acrosome is a peculiar vacuole that at fertilization undergoes the acrosome reaction (AR), an event unique in the sperm life. Contents released promote sperm penetration through oocyte's investments; membranous components are involved in sperm–egg interaction/fusion. Therefore, both constituents play a role in fertilization. The biogenesis of this vacuole, however, has not been clarified yet; recently, it has been proposed as a novel lysosome-related organelle (LRO). Our research focuses on
... research focuses on the involvement of the endosomal pathway in acrosomogenesis starting from the early phases. The trafficking sorted by USP8/UBPy, an endosomal regulator recently described as a compelling candidate for male fertility gene, was investigated in comparison to that of SP56, a marker of the biosynthetic pathway. Mouse spermatids were double/triple immunolabeled and examined by confocal microscopy. The contribution of the vesicular traffic assisted by the cortical microtubule array was also evaluated in nocodazole-treated spermatids. USP8/UBPy-sorted cargo contributes early to acrosomogenesis and its trafficking is microtubule mediated. It was identified, through co-immunoprecipitation/co-immunolocalization assays, that the membrane receptor MET, described herein for the first time in spermatids, as an USP8/UBPy-target substrate is delivered to the acrosome. MET and USP8/UBPy still colocalize in epididymal spermatozoa. Following the AR, MET and USP8/UBPy show a distinct fate. MET, in particular, translocates at the PAS, the post acrosomal segment known to harbor sperm-borne factors involved in oocyte activation. Overall, our results support the concept of the acrosome as a LRO and provide evidence for the identification of MET as a tyrosine kinase receptor that may play a role in fertilization.