Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and their receptors are expressed in a variety of mammalian tissues, playing a role in development and cell proliferation. While analyzing human sperm motility, we found that sperm treated with endo-β-galactosidase (EBG), which specifically hydrolyzes poly-N-acetyllactosamine type glycans (polyLacs), enhanced motility. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that sperm-associated polyLacs are heavily fucosylated, consistent with Lewis Y antigen. Immunohistochemistry of epididymis using an anti-Lewis Y antibody before and after EBG treatment suggested that polyLacs carrying the Lewis Y epitope are synthesized in epididymal epithelia and secreted to seminal fluid. EBG-treated sperm elevated cAMP levels and calcium influx, indicating activation of fibroblast growth factor signaling. Seminal fluid polyLacs bound to FGFs in vitro, and impaired FGF-mediated signaling in HEK293T cells.
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