Sperm antigens that appear during spermatogenesis in the baboon were identified by using three monoclonal antibodies generated in culture from mice immunized with baboon caudal epididymal spermatozoa.

Antibodies BSA1 and BSA2 recognize trypsin-sensitive 84,000 and 45,000 dalton determinants that are restricted to the tail and anterior acrosomal regions of the sperm, respectively, as determined by Western blot and immunofluorescence techniques. The tail antigen absent in 2- and 3-yr-old baboon testes first appears in spermatid cells at about 4 yr of age. In contrast, the acrosomal antigen recognized by BSA2 is present in 3-yr-old primitive testicular germ cells. In the mature testis, the 45,000 molecular weight determinant is predominantly localized in the nucleus of late pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatid cells as observed via the avidinbiotin immunoperoxidase method. Antibody BSA3 reacted only with sailidase-treated sections of adult testis. This trypsin-resistant determinant, not expressed on testicular sperm, is recognized by antibody BSA3 only on epididymal sperm, thus indicating a post-testicular sperm modification.

Author notes

This study received financial support from the Special Programme for Research Training and Research Development of the World Health Organization as well as the Rockefeller Foundation.