Open Access Open Badges Research article

Comprehensive proteomic analysis of bovine spermatozoa of varying fertility rates and identification of biomarkers associated with fertility

Divyaswetha Peddinti14, Bindu Nanduri14, Abdullah Kaya2, Jean M Feugang, Shane C Burgess145 and Erdogan Memili3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Basic Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

2 Alta Genetics, Inc., Watertown, WI, USA

3 Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

4 Institute for Digital Biology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

5 Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experimental station, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

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BMC Systems Biology 2008, 2:19  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-2-19

Published: 22 February 2008



Male infertility is a major problem for mammalian reproduction. However, molecular details including the underlying mechanisms of male fertility are still not known. A thorough understanding of these mechanisms is essential for obtaining consistently high reproductive efficiency and to ensure lower cost and time-loss by breeder.


Using high and low fertility bull spermatozoa, here we employed differential detergent fractionation multidimensional protein identification technology (DDF-Mud PIT) and identified 125 putative biomarkers of fertility. We next used quantitative Systems Biology modeling and canonical protein interaction pathways and networks to show that high fertility spermatozoa differ from low fertility spermatozoa in four main ways. Compared to sperm from low fertility bulls, sperm from high fertility bulls have higher expression of proteins involved in: energy metabolism, cell communication, spermatogenesis, and cell motility. Our data also suggests a hypothesis that low fertility sperm DNA integrity may be compromised because cell cycle: G2/M DNA damage checkpoint regulation was most significant signaling pathway identified in low fertility spermatozoa.


This is the first comprehensive description of the bovine spermatozoa proteome. Comparative proteomic analysis of high fertility and low fertility bulls, in the context of protein interaction networks identified putative molecular markers associated with high fertility phenotype.