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Proteomics. 2010 Oct;10(19):3494-505. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201000002.

Characterization of the proteomes associating with three distinct membrane raft sub-types in murine sperm.

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The Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Mammalian sperm are transcriptionally and translationally inactive. To meet changing needs in the epididymis and female tract, they rely heavily on post-translational modifications and protein acquisition/degradation. Membrane rafts are sterol and sphingolipid-enriched micro-domains that organize and regulate various pathways. Rafts have significance in sperm by transducing the stimulus of sterol efflux into changes in intracellular signaling that confer fertilization competence. We recently characterized three biochemically distinct sub-types of sperm rafts, and now present profiles for proteins targeting to and associating with these sub-types, along with a fraction largely comprised of "non-raft" domains. Proteomics analysis using a gel-based LC-MS/MS approach identified 190 strictly validated proteins in the raft sub-types. Interestingly, many of these are known to be expressed in the epididymis, where sperm membrane composition matures. To investigate potential roles for rafts in epididymal protein acquisition, we compared the expression and localization of two different sterol-interacting proteins, apolipoprotein-A1 (apoA1) and prominin-1 (prom1) in sperm from different zones. We found that apoA1 was gradually added to the plasma membrane overlying the acrosome, whereas prom1 was not, suggesting different mechanisms for raft protein acquisition. Our results define raft-associating proteins, demonstrate functional similarities and differences among raft sub-types, and provide insights into raft-mediated epididymal protein acquisition.

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