Isolation and proteomic characterization of the mouse sperm acrosomal matrix

Benoit Guyonnet, Masoud Zabet-Moghaddam, Susan SanFrancisco, Gail A. Cornwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A critical step during fertilization is the sperm acrosome reaction in which the acrosome releases its contents allowing the spermatozoa to penetrate the egg investments. The sperm acrosomal contents are composed of both soluble material and an insoluble material called the acrosomal matrix (AM). The AM is thought to provide a stable structure from which associated proteins are differentially released during fertilization. Because of its important role during fertilization, efforts have been put toward isolating the AM for biochemical study and to date AM have been isolated from hamster, guinea pig, and bull spermatozoa. However, attempts to isolate AM from mouse spermatozoa, the species in which fertilization is well-studied, have been unsuccessful possibly because of the small size of the mouse sperm acrosome and/or its fusiform shape. Herein we describe a procedure for the isolation of the AM from caput and cauda mouse epididymal spermatozoa. We further carried out a proteomic analysis of the isolated AM from both sperm populations and identified 501 new proteins previously not detected by proteomics in mouse spermatozoa. A comparison of the AM proteome from caput and cauda spermatozoa showed that the AM undergoes maturational changes during epididymal transit similar to other sperm domains. Together, our studies suggest the AM to be a dynamic and functional structure carrying out a variety of biological processes as implied by the presence of a diverse group of proteins including proteases, chaperones, hydrolases, transporters, enzyme modulators, transferases, cytoskeletal proteins, and others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-774
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


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