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American Chemical Society Weekly PressPac -- April 8, 2009
Date:4/12/2009

Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) Weekly PressPac from the Office of Public Affairs. It has news from ACS' 34 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News. Please credit the individual journal or the American Chemical Society as the source for this information.

PressPac Archive: http://portal.acs.org/portal/PublicWebSite/pressroom/presspacs/CTP_006742


ARTICLE # 1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Solving the mystery of what puts sperm "in the mood"

Journal of Proteome Research

In a potential advance toward a male contraceptive pill and new treatments for infertility, researchers are reporting the identification of key biochemical changes that put sperm "in the mood" for fertilization. Their study, which addresses a long-standing biological mystery, appears in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication.

Mark Platt and colleagues note in the new study that sperm cannot fertilize an egg immediately after entering the female reproductive tract. Sperm must acquire this ability after undergoing an activation process called "capacitation." Scientists have known for years that this process involves phosphorylation. That common biological modification causes cellular activities to be turned "on" by the addition of phosphate molecules to certain amino acids within proteins. However, the specific biochemical details have been a deep mystery.

Using laboratory mice, the researchers compared the extent of phosphorylation in both capacitated and noncapacitated sperm samples. They identified 44 peptides exhibiting differential phosphorylation, on 59 specific amino acids, suggesting that modification of these particular sites is essential for the capacitation process. The relative ratio of phosphorylation between the capacitated and noncapacitated samples were also rep
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Contact: Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
202-872-6293
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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