Proteomic discovery of diverse immunity molecules in mammalian spermatozoa

Steve Dorus, Sheri Skerget, Timothy L. Karr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Ongoing proteomic analyses are providing a wealth of new data on the composition of the sperm proteome across a range of mammals and other taxa. Although molecular evolution and functional genomic analyses of the proteome have only begun recently, we now broadly understand the molecular composition of sperm. Systems level analysis has revealed a variety of molecular insights into sperm evolution and function, including a remarkable diversity of immunity-related proteins within the proteome. Using existing mammalian sperm proteomes as a starting point, we provide an overview of this important class of sperm proteins and what is known about their function in sperm maturation, sperm quality, sperm competition, and fertilization. The recent observation that many sperm immunity proteins are rapidly evolving, presumably under the influence of positive selection, suggests that they may be responding not only to selection associated with host immunity defense but also with pleiotropic functions in sperm. In addition to the documented role of sperm in the mediation of female immune response, we propose that the fundamental mechanisms involved in cell-cell recognition and binding in both immune processes and fertilization may underlie the multi-functionality of proteins in immunity and reproductive systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-228
Number of pages11
JournalSystems Biology in Reproductive Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • evolution
  • immunity
  • proteomics
  • sexual selection
  • sperm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Proteomic discovery of diverse immunity molecules in mammalian spermatozoa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this