The PATE gene is expressed in the accessory tissues of the human male genital tract and encodes a secreted sperm-associated protein
The PATE gene is expressed in prostate and testis. To determine if PATE is expressed in other accessory tissues of the male genital tract, RT-PCR of the epididymis and seminal vesicle was performed. PATE mRNA was highly expressed in the epididymis and seminal vesicle. In situ hybridization of the testis showed PATE mRNA is strongly expressed in the spermatogonia. The PATE gene encodes a 14-kDa protein with a predicted signal sequence and a cleavage site between residues G21 and S22. To determine if PATE is a secreted protein, 293T cells were transfected with a pcDNA-PATE-myc-His plasmid and protein immunoprecipitated with anti-myc monoclonal antibody. Western blot analysis showed the presence of PATE-myc-His protein was in the medium and the cell lysate. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that PATE-myc-His protein is found in the endoplasmic reticulum. The polyclonal antibody SOL-1 was generated by immunization of rabbits with recombinant PATE protein expressed and purified from Escherichia coli. Western blots were performed on extracts of prostate, testis, seminal vesicle and ejaculated spermatozoa, but PATE protein was only detected in the spermatozoa. Immunostaining of sperm smears revealed that PATE is located in a band-like pattern in the sperm head. Our data indicate that PATE is made by various sexual accessory tissues and secreted into the semen where it becomes associated with sperm, suggesting that PATE is a novel sperm-associated protein with a possible role in mammalian sperm maturation.