The effects of IAM38 blocking or CD4 blocking on the binding of exogenous DNA in rabbit sperm

  • Shun Zhang
  • Xiaocan Lei
  • Peng Huo
  • Qingyou Liu
  • Xiaomei Guan
  • Jianrong Jiang
  • Deshun ShiEmail author
  • Fenghua LuEmail author
Original Article


The binding of exogenous DNA to sperm is a key process for sperm-mediated gene transfer; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms have yet to be elucidated. In the present study, we aimed to identify the DNA binding proteins (DBPs) in rabbit sperm and to gain further understanding of the molecular mechanism of sperm and exogenous DNA interaction. Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was used for separating free sperm proteins and complexes of DNA fragment/sperm proteins. A distinct band was found after Coomassie blue staining, and seven potential proteins were identified by mass spectrometry analysis. An analysis of the physical/chemical properties of the seven proteins revealed that the sperm inner acrosomal membrane protein IAM38 (IAM38) matched the features of the DBPs. Western blotting analysis showed that the IAM38 and CD4 were present in the sperm but not in the seminal plasma. Blocking of the IAM38 impaired the DNA-binding capacity of the sperm. Blocking the CD4 decreased the DNA-uptake capacity of the sperm but did not influence the DNA-binding capacity of the sperm. Moreover, the EGFP-positive embryos and EGFP-positive blastocysts were also decreased after IAM38 blocking or CD4 blocking in comparison with the control group. In conclusion, our results imply that foreign DNA first binds to the transmembrane IAM38 of the sperm plasma membrane and then forms the complex of DNA/IAM38/CD4 with CD4 to complete the transportation of exogenous DNA into the nucleus of sperm.


Gene transfer DNA binding proteins Rabbit sperm IAM38 CD4 



This research was supported by China Natural Science Foundation (No. 31460282), Guangxi Science Foundation (No. 2017GXNSFBA198189), the Improving the Basic Ability of Young and Middle-aged University Teachers in Guangxi (No. 2017KY0477) and Guangxi Bagui Scholar Program.


This research was supported by China Natural Science Foundation (No. 31460282), Guangxi Science Foundation (No. 2017GXNSFBA198189), the Improving the Basic Ability of Young and Middle-aged University Teachers in Guangxi (No. 2017KY0477) and Guangxi Bagui Scholar Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Supplementary material

11033_2018_4466_MOESM1_ESM.docx (216 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 215 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangxi High Education Key Laboratory for Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology, State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-BioresourcesGuangxi UniversityNanningChina
  2. 2.Department of Reproductive Medical CenterThe Affiliated Hospital of Guilin Medical UniversityGuilinChina
  3. 3.School of Public Health of Guilin Medical UniversityGuilinChina

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