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13 March 2018 Caenorhabditis elegans sperm membrane protein interactome
Matthew R. Marcello, Marina Druzhinina, Andrew Singson
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The interaction and organization of proteins in the sperm membrane are important for all aspects of sperm function. We have determined the interactions between 12 known mutationally defined and cloned sperm membrane proteins in a model system for reproduction, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Identification of the interactions between sperm membrane proteins will improve our understanding of and ability to characterize defects in sperm function. To identify interacting proteins, we conducted a split-ubiquitin membrane yeast two-hybrid analysis of gene products identified through genetic screens that are necessary for sperm function and predicted to encode transmembrane proteins. Our analysis revealed novel interactions between sperm membrane proteins known to have roles in spermatogenesis, spermiogenesis, and fertilization. For example, we found that a protein known to play a role in sperm function during fertilization, SPE-38 (a predicted four pass transmembrane protein), interacts with proteins necessary for spermiogenesis and spermatogenesis and could serve as a central organizing protein in the plasma membrane. These novel interaction pairings will provide the foundation for investigating previously unrealized membrane protein interactions during spermatogenesis, spermiogenesis, and sperm function during fertilization.

Summary Sentence

Novel interactions between 12 Caenorhabditis elegans sperm membrane proteins were identified using split-ubiquitin membrane yeast two-hybrid analyses to provide insight into membrane protein order during sperm development and function.

© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Society for the Study of Reproduction. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
Matthew R. Marcello, Marina Druzhinina, and Andrew Singson "Caenorhabditis elegans sperm membrane protein interactome," Biology of Reproduction 98(6), 776-783, (13 March 2018).
Received: 25 August 2017; Accepted: 6 March 2018; Published: 13 March 2018
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