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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17757

Title: Identification and Functional Characterization of a Novel Activation Cascade of the KLK Family in Seminal Plasma
Authors: Emami, Nashmil
Advisor: Diamandis, Eleftherios P.
Department: Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology
Keywords: Proteolytic Cascade
kallikrein-related peptidases
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2009
Abstract: Proteolytic processes are often mediated by highly orchestrated cascades, through which protease enzymes function coordinately to ensure a stepwise activation. This thesis presents experimental data which supports and complements the previously postulated mechanism of KLK (kallikrein-related protease) activation through proteolytic cascades. Further examination of the seminal KLK cascade has revealed several of its key (patho) physiological roles in human reproductive system. Multiple members of the seminal KLK cascade, in particular KLK14, were shown to play a pivotal role in regulating semen liquefaction. The cascade was further shown to be tightly regulated through a series of highly orchestrated feedback loops, to prevent deleterious effects due to aberrant protease activation. Accordingly, a strong association was observed between the expression level of several seminal KLKs, delayed liquefaction, and other markers of semen quality, including semen hyperviscosity. Furthermore, a strong association was found between delayed liquefaction and abnormal sperm motility. Therefore, dysregulated KLK expressions and/or activities were proposed as an underlying cause of male subfertility. Finally, this thesis has provided initial insights into a novel potential function of multiple members of the seminal KLK cascade in activation of the key immune-deviating agent, TGFβ1, in seminal plasma. TGFβ1 activation is postulated to be mediated directly through complete fragmentation or indirectly through partial cleavage and conformational changes of the LAP propeptide motif of the latent TGFβ1. KLK- mediate proteolytic cleavage of the TGFβ1 binding protein, LTBP1, is also suggested as a potential physiological mechanism for release of the membrane-bound latent TGFβ1. Overall, the data provided here may suggest a common regulatory mechanism, involved co-temporally in the two key processes of semen liquefaction and immune-suppression. This might be critical in protecting motile sperms following their release from semen coagulum. Understanding KLK-mediated proteolytic events in seminal plasma can shed light not only on the physiological role of this family of enzymes, but also on some of causes of male subfertility. Accordingly, therapeutic induction of this cascade may be utilized to supplement the current clinical treatment of male subfertility. Conversely, targeted inhibition of key components of the cascade may have potential pharmaceutical utility as a novel topical contraceptive strategy.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17757
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology - Doctoral theses

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