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2011 | 14 | 3 |

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Characteristics of selected seminal plasma proteins and their applications in the improvement of the reproductive processes in mammals

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Understanding the biochemical processes associated with ovum fertilization and knowledge about the structure and function of individual substances participating in these processes is crucial for the development of biotechnological methods to improve reproduction of animals and humans. Among many components of seminal plasma, proteins and peptides play a specific role in regulation of the fertilization process, particularly through their ability to bind various types of ligands such as polysaccharides, lipids and ions. Heparin-binding proteins regulate capacitation and acrosome reaction processes. Affinity of plasma proteins to mannans of the fallopian tube epithelium facilitates formation of spermatozoa reservoirs in the female reproductive tract. Ability to bind phosphorylcholine is one of the conditions for the coating of the seminal plasma proteins on the sperm membrane and also determines the formation of oligomeric forms of certain proteins. Zinc binding by seminal plasma proteins regulates sperm chromatin condensation state. It also affects motility of these cells and acrosome reaction. The interspecies analysis indicates significant structural and functional similarities, especially for the proteins with low molecular weight. Fertility associated proteins (FAPs) have been determined in the bull, stallion, boar, ram and dog. The contents of these proteins correlate with the indicators of the fertilizing abilities of sperm. In humans, several seminal plasma proteins were found which serve as diagnostic markers of spermatogenesis, seminiferous epithelium state, and azoospermia. To determine the semen ability for preservation, measurement of some seminal plasma protein content may also be used. Addition of specific plasma proteins to a spermatozoa solution undergoing the process of preservation may be used to retain the features of the cells responsible for efficient fertilization.

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  • University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Faculty of Animal Bioengineering, Department of Animal Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 10-718 Olsztyn, Poland


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