The contribution of proteomics to understanding epididymal maturation of mammalian spermatozoa
The acquisition of the ability of the male gamete to fertilize an ovum is the result of numerous and sequential steps of differentiation of spermatozoa that occur as they transit from the testis to the end of the epididymal tubule. The post gonadal sperm modifications are mostly related to motility, egg binding, and penetration processes. As the activity of the epididymis and its luminal fluid composition are believed to be directly related to 'sperm maturation', a review on epididymal proteins is presented. Comparative studies have shown that the epididymal activities are species specific. Nevertheless, for all mammalian species studied, similarities exist in the sequential proteomic changes of the luminal composition of the epididymal tubule and proteins on the sperm surface. The potential roles of these modifications are discussed.