Pronounced Postmating Response in the Drosophila Female Reproductive Tract Fluid Proteome

Caitlin E. McDonough-Goldstein, Emma Whittington, Erin L. McCullough, Sharleen M. Buel, Scott Erdman, Scott Pitnick, Steve Dorus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Fertility depends on the progression of complex and coordinated postmating processes within the extracellular environment of the female reproductive tract (FRT). Molecular interactions between ejaculate and FRT proteins regulate many of these processes, including sperm motility, migration, storage, and modification, along with concurrent changes in the female. Although extensive progress has been made in the proteomic characterization of the male-derived components of sperm and seminal fluid, investigations into the FRT have remained more limited. To achieve a comparable level of knowledge regarding female-derived proteins that comprise the reproductive environment, we utilized semiquantitative MS-based proteomics to study the composition of the FRT tissue and, separately, the luminal fluid, before and after mating in Drosophila melanogaster. Our approach leveraged whole-fly isotopic labeling to delineate female proteins from transferred male ejaculate proteins. Our results revealed several characteristics that distinguish the FRT fluid proteome from the FRT tissue proteome: (1) the fluid proteome is encoded by genes with higher overall levels of FRT gene expression and tissue specificity, including many genes with enriched expression in the fat body, (2) fluid-biased proteins are enriched for metabolic functions, and (3) the fluid exhibits pronounced postmating compositional changes. The dynamic mating-induced proteomic changes in the FRT fluid inform our understanding of secretory mechanisms of the FRT, serve as a foundation for establishing female contributions to the ejaculate–female interactions that regulate fertility, and highlight the importance of applying proteomic approaches to characterize the composition and dynamics of the FRT environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100156
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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