Spermatozoa are highly specialized cells that, when mature, are capable of navigating the female reproductive tract and fertilizing an oocyte. The sperm cell is thought to be largely quiescent in terms of transcriptional and translational activity. As a result, once it has left the male reproductive tract, the sperm cell is essentially operating with a static population of proteins. It therefore is theoretically possible to understand the protein networks contained in a sperm cell and to deduce its cellular function capabilities. To this end, we performed a proteomic analysis of mouse sperm isolated from the cauda epididymis and confidently identified 2850 proteins, which to our knowledge is the most comprehensive sperm proteome for any species reported to date. These proteins comprise many complete cellular pathways, including those for energy production via glycolysis, beta-oxidation and oxidative phosphorylation, protein folding and transport, and cell signaling systems. This proteome should prove a useful tool for assembly and testing of protein networks important for sperm function.
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Vol. 87 • No. 6