The application of proteomic approaches to the study of mammalian spermatogenesis and sperm function



Spermatogenesis is the process by which terminally differentiated sperm are produced from male germline stem cells. This complex developmental process requires the coordination of both somatic and germ cells through phases of proliferation, meiosis, and morphological differentiation, to produce the cell responsible for the delivery of the paternal genome. With infertility affecting ~ 15% of all couples, furthering our understanding of spermatogenesis and sperm function is vital for improving the diagnosis and treatment of male factor infertility. The emerging use of proteomic technologies has played an instrumental role in our understanding of spermatogenesis by providing information regarding the genes involved. This article reviews existing proteomic literature regarding spermatogenesis and sperm function, including the proteomic characterization of spermatogenic cell types, subcellular proteomics, post-translational modifications, interactomes, and clinical studies. Future directions in the application of proteomics to the study of spermatogenesis and sperm function are also discussed.