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Monday December 30th, 2013

The sperm cell contains a range of proteins involved in RNA metabolism and translational regulation

The recent use of advanced proteomic approaches is clearly challenging the understanding of sperm biology. The group led by Dr. Rafael Oliva, within the IDIBAPS Molecular genetics Team, has provided in the recent years a series of original works about the composition and complexity of sperm. With a new review, published recently at Human Reproduction Update with Alexandra Amaral as its firs author, the team discusses various human sperm proteomic studies to create a compiled list of all the sperm proteins described to date and to re-assess the potential functional implications. The group also leads the Reprotrain project, funded by the European Commission.

A total of 30 studies on human sperm proteomics were identified and analyzed. They resulted in the identification of 6198 different proteins, which were assigned to various functional pathways, including metabolism, apoptosis, cell cycle, meiosis and membrane trafficking, among others. Unexpectedly, the sperm cell also contains a range of proteins involved in RNA metabolism and translational regulation, as well as proteins usually located in organelles believed to be absent in sperm, such as cytoplasmatic ribosomes and peroxisomes. Additionally, some proteins whose levels seem to be altered in low-quality sperm might have clinical relevance.

Article reference:
Amaral A, Castillo J, Ramalho-Santos J, Oliva R. The combined human sperm proteome: cellular pathways and implications for basic and clinical science. Hum Reprod Update. 2013 Sep 29. [Epub ahead of print]
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