Istituto di Cristallografia - CNR

The role of sperm-specific glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase in the development of pathologies-from asthenozoospermia to carcinogenesis

The review considers various aspects of the influence of the glycolytic enzyme, sperm-specific glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDS) on the energy metabolism of spermatozoa and on the occurrence of several pathologies both in spermatozoa and in other cells. GAPDS is a unique enzyme normally found only in mammalian spermatozoa. GAPDS provides movement of the sperm flagellum through the ATP formation in glycolytic reactions. Oxidation of cysteine residues in GAPDS results in inactivation of the enzyme and decreases sperm motility. In particular, reduced sperm motility in diabetes can be associated with GAPDS oxidation by superoxide anion produced during glycation reactions. Mutations in GAPDS gene lead in the loss of motility, and in some cases, disrupts the formation of the structural elements of the sperm flagellum, in which the enzyme incorporates during spermiogenesis. GAPDS activation can be used to increase the spermatozoa fertility, and inhibitors of this enzyme are being tried as contraceptives. A truncated GAPDS lacking the N-terminal fragment of 72 amino acids that attaches the enzyme to the sperm flagellum was found in melanoma cell lines and then in specimens of melanoma and other tumors. Simultaneous production of the somatic form of GAPDH and sperm-specific GAPDS in cancer cells leads to a reorganization of their energy metabolism, which is accompanied by a change in the efficiency of metastasis of certain forms of cancer. Issues related to the use of GAPDS for the diagnosis of cancer, as well as the possibility of regulating the activity of this enzyme to prevent metastasis, are discussed.

Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences
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Naletova, Irina; Schmalhausen, Elena; Tomasello, Barbara; Pozdyshev, Denis; Attanasio, Francesco; Muronetz, Vladimir