sperm maturation


Summary: The maturing process of SPERMATOZOA after leaving the testicular SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES. Maturation in SPERM MOTILITY and FERTILITY takes place in the EPIDIDYMIS as the sperm migrate from caput epididymis to cauda epididymis.

Top Publications

  1. Zhou C, Zhang Y, Xiao L, Zheng M, Leung K, Chan M, et al. An epididymis-specific beta-defensin is important for the initiation of sperm maturation. Nat Cell Biol. 2004;6:458-64 pubmed
    Although the role of the epididymis, a male accessory sex organ, in sperm maturation has been established for nearly four decades, the maturation process itself has not been linked to a specific molecule of epididymal origin...
  2. Tulsiani D. Glycan-modifying enzymes in luminal fluid of the mammalian epididymis: an overview of their potential role in sperm maturation. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2006;250:58-65 pubmed
    ..In this article, I have attempted to summarize and present an overview on the potential role of these glycan-modifying enzymes in sperm maturation.
  3. Yeung C, Schroter S, Kirchhoff C, Cooper T. Maturational changes of the CD52-like epididymal glycoprotein on cynomolgus monkey sperm and their apparent reversal in capacitation conditions. Mol Reprod Dev. 2000;57:280-9 pubmed
    ..These findings suggest a cryptic antigen epitope site as a consequence of sperm maturation and subsequent re-exposure under capacitation conditions, but not due to the removal of sialic acid residues ..
  4. Cornwall G, Hann S. Transient appearance of CRES protein during spermatogenesis and caput epididymal sperm maturation. Mol Reprod Dev. 1995;41:37-46 pubmed
    ..These observations suggest that the CRES protein performs a specialized role during sperm development and maturation. ..
  5. Brandenburger T, Strehler E, Filoteo A, Caride A, Aumüller G, Post H, et al. Switch of PMCA4 splice variants in bovine epididymis results in altered isoform expression during functional sperm maturation. J Biol Chem. 2011;286:7938-46 pubmed publisher
    Ca(2+) and Ca(2+)-dependent signals are essential for sperm maturation and fertilization. In mouse sperm the plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase (PMCA) isoform 4 plays a crucial role in Ca(2+) transport...
  6. Caballero J, Frenette G, D Amours O, Belleann e C, Lacroix Pepin N, Robert C, et al. Bovine sperm raft membrane associated Glioma Pathogenesis-Related 1-like protein 1 (GliPr1L1) is modified during the epididymal transit and is potentially involved in sperm binding to the zona pellucida. J Cell Physiol. 2012;227:3876-86 pubmed publisher
    ..GliPr1L1 was localized on sperm equatorial segment and neck. In vitro fertilization performed in presence of anti-GliPr1L1 showed that this protein is involved in sperm-zona pellucida interaction...
  7. Chen H, Griffiths G, Galileo D, Martin DeLeon P. Epididymal SPAM1 is a marker for sperm maturation in the mouse. Biol Reprod. 2006;74:923-30 pubmed
    ..001) than that for sperm capacitated in W/T SPAM1-antibody-inhibited ELF. Because epididymal SPAM1 uptake significantly increases cumulus penetration, we conclude that it is a marker of sperm maturation.
  8. Tesarik J. Overcoming maturation arrest by in vitro spermatogenesis: search for the optimal culture system. Fertil Steril. 2004;81:1417-9 pubmed
  9. Krutskikh A, Poliandri A, Cabrera Sharp V, Dacheux J, Poutanen M, Huhtaniemi I. Epididymal protein Rnase10 is required for post-testicular sperm maturation and male fertility. FASEB J. 2012;26:4198-209 pubmed publisher
    ..We conclude that the physiological role of sperm adhesiveness is in the mechanism of restricted sperm entry into the oviduct rather than in sperm-egg interaction. ..

More Information


  1. Castella S, Fouch court S, Teixeira Gomes A, Vinh J, Belghazi M, Dacheux F, et al. Identification of a member of a new RNase a family specifically secreted by epididymal caput epithelium. Biol Reprod. 2004;70:319-28 pubmed publisher
    ..However, the presence of a long-conserved N-terminal specific sequence and the absence of RNase catalytic site for Train A indicate that Train A protein is a member of a new family of RNase A...
  2. Toshimori K. Biology of spermatozoa maturation: an overview with an introduction to this issue. Microsc Res Tech. 2003;61:1-6 pubmed
    ..These maturational modifications are necessary for spermatozoa to become fertilization-competent cells and to be stored safely in the male. ..
  3. Hermo L, Adamali H, Andonian S. Immunolocalization of CA II and H+ V-ATPase in epithelial cells of the mouse and rat epididymis. J Androl. 2000;21:376-91 pubmed
    ..In summary, both narrow and clear cells appear to be involved in luminal acidification, an activity that may be essential for sperm as they traverse and are stored in the epididymis. ..
  4. Lin M, Hess R, Aitken R. Induction of sperm maturation in vitro in epididymal cell cultures of the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii): disruption of motility initiation and sperm morphogenesis by inhibition of actin polymerization. Reproduction. 2002;124:107-17 pubmed
    ..of inhibitors of actin polymerization (latrunculin A or B) to the co-culture system showed that wallaby sperm maturation was impaired by the interruption of actin organization within the immature spermatozoa...
  5. Zheng H, Stratton C, Morozumi K, Jin J, Yanagimachi R, Yan W. Lack of Spem1 causes aberrant cytoplasm removal, sperm deformation, and male infertility. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007;104:6852-7 pubmed
    ..Our study reveals that proper cytoplasm removal is a genetically regulated process requiring the participation of Spem1 and that lack of Spem1 causes sperm deformation and male infertility. ..
  6. Pfeifer H, Conrad M, Roethlein D, Kyriakopoulos A, Brielmeier M, Bornkamm G, et al. Identification of a specific sperm nuclei selenoenzyme necessary for protamine thiol cross-linking during sperm maturation. FASEB J. 2001;15:1236-8 pubmed
  7. Zadravec D, Tvrdik P, Guillou H, Haslam R, Kobayashi T, Napier J, et al. ELOVL2 controls the level of n-6 28:5 and 30:5 fatty acids in testis, a prerequisite for male fertility and sperm maturation in mice. J Lipid Res. 2011;52:245-55 pubmed publisher
  8. Han C, Choi E, Park I, Lee B, Jin S, Kim D, et al. Comprehensive analysis of reproductive ADAMs: relationship of ADAM4 and ADAM6 with an ADAM complex required for fertilization in mice. Biol Reprod. 2009;80:1001-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results showed that most of the ADAMs undergo unique processing during sperm maturation and are located at the surface of sperm head...
  9. Cornwall G. New insights into epididymal biology and function. Hum Reprod Update. 2009;15:213-27 pubmed publisher
    ..recent progress in our understanding of epididymal function including its development, role of the luminal microenvironment in sperm maturation, regulation and novel mechanisms the epididymis utilizes to carry out some of its functions.
  10. Frenette G, Lessard C, Sullivan R. Polyol pathway along the bovine epididymis. Mol Reprod Dev. 2004;69:448-56 pubmed
    ..Knowing the importance of sorbitol and fructose in sperm metabolism, we hypothesized that the polyol pathway is involved in the modulation of sperm motility within the epididymis. ..
  11. Cooper T. Sperm maturation in the epididymis: a new look at an old problem. Asian J Androl. 2007;9:533-9 pubmed
    ..facing maturing spermatozoa and their responses to them are discussed in relation to the concept of sperm maturation, defined as the increased ability of more distally recovered epididymal spermatozoa to fertilize eggs when ..
  12. Sipila P, Pujianto D, Shariatmadari R, Nikkilä J, Lehtoranta M, Huhtaniemi I, et al. Differential endocrine regulation of genes enriched in initial segment and distal caput of the mouse epididymis as revealed by genome-wide expression profiling. Biol Reprod. 2006;75:240-51 pubmed
    ..Several novel genes with putative involvement in epididymal sperm maturation, such as a disintegrin and metallopeptidase domain 28 (Adam28) and a solute carrier organic anion transporter ..
  13. Keber R, Rozman D, Horvat S. Sterols in spermatogenesis and sperm maturation. J Lipid Res. 2013;54:20-33 pubmed publisher
    ..However, the exact role of sterols in male reproduction is unknown. This review discusses sterol dynamics in sperm maturation and describes recent methodological advances that will help to illuminate the complexity of sperm formation ..
  14. Ying X, Liu Y, Guo Q, Qu F, Guo W, Zhu Y, et al. Endoplasmic reticulum protein 29 (ERp29), a protein related to sperm maturation is involved in sperm-oocyte fusion in mouse. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2010;8:10 pubmed publisher
    ..We determined if in addition to promoting sperm maturation ERp29 may also play a role in facilitating gamete fusion during the fertilization process...
  15. Olson G, Winfrey V, Nagdas S. Structural modification of the hamster sperm acrosome during posttesticular development in the epididymis. Microsc Res Tech. 2003;61:46-55 pubmed
    ..Acrosome assembly occurs throughout spermiogenesis and continues during posttesticular sperm maturation in the epididymis, resulting in a structurally polarized membrane-bounded organelle that contains an ..
  16. Tanaka A, Nagayoshi M, Awata S, Mawatari Y, Tanaka I, Kusunoki H. Completion of meiosis in human primary spermatocytes through in vitro coculture with Vero cells. Fertil Steril. 2003;79 Suppl 1:795-801 pubmed
    ..These newly developed cells were proved to be round spermatids by chromosomal analysis. It was verified that a primary spermatocyte developed into round spermatids after completing two cycles of meiosis through in vitro culture. ..
  17. Jin Y, Bannai S, Dacheux F, Dacheux J, Okamura N. Direct evidence for the secretion of lactoferrin and its binding to sperm in the porcine epididymis. Mol Reprod Dev. 1997;47:490-6 pubmed
    ..These results strongly suggest new physiological functions of lactoferrin on the sperm maturation in the epididymis.
  18. Blobel C. Functional processing of fertilin: evidence for a critical role of proteolysis in sperm maturation and activation. Rev Reprod. 2000;5:75-83 pubmed
    ..alpha and beta are made as larger precursors that are processed proteolytically at different stages of sperm maturation in the testis and epididymis...
  19. Sullivan R, Saez F, Girouard J, Frenette G. Role of exosomes in sperm maturation during the transit along the male reproductive tract. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2005;35:1-10 pubmed
    ..While the cauda epididymides acts as a sperm reservoir, the caput and corpus are responsible for sperm maturation. This means that, under androgen control, the epididymal epithelium secretes proteins that will interact ..
  20. Su D, Novoselov S, Sun Q, Moustafa M, Zhou Y, Oko R, et al. Mammalian selenoprotein thioredoxin-glutathione reductase. Roles in disulfide bond formation and sperm maturation. J Biol Chem. 2005;280:26491-8 pubmed
    ..Together, TGR and GPx4 can serve as a novel disulfide bond formation system. Both enzymes contain a catalytic selenocysteine consistent with the role of selenium in male reproduction. ..
  21. Cho C, Willis W, Goulding E, Jung Ha H, Choi Y, Hecht N, et al. Haploinsufficiency of protamine-1 or -2 causes infertility in mice. Nat Genet. 2001;28:82-6 pubmed
    ..Our studies show that both protamines are essential and that haploinsufficiency caused by a mutation in one allele of Prm1 or Prm2 prevents genetic transmission of both mutant and wild-type alleles. ..
  22. Dean M, Good J, Nachman M. Adaptive evolution of proteins secreted during sperm maturation: an analysis of the mouse epididymal transcriptome. Mol Biol Evol. 2008;25:383-92 pubmed
    ..Immunity and protein modification functions were significantly overrepresented among epididymis-specialized, secreted genes. These analyses identified a group of genes likely to be important in male reproductive success. ..
  23. Jones R, James P, Howes L, Bruckbauer A, Klenerman D. Supramolecular organization of the sperm plasma membrane during maturation and capacitation. Asian J Androl. 2007;9:438-44 pubmed
    ..These techniques are forcing a revision of long-held views on how lipids and proteins in sperm membranes are assembled into larger complexes that mediate recognition and fusion with the egg. ..
  24. Silva E, Patrão M, TSURUTA J, O Rand M, Avellar M. Epididymal protease inhibitor (EPPIN) is differentially expressed in the male rat reproductive tract and immunolocalized in maturing spermatozoa. Mol Reprod Dev. 2012;79:832-42 pubmed publisher
    ..This species could be used as an experimental model to further study EPPIN's role in male fertility...
  25. Pastén Hidalgo K, Hernandez Rivas R, Roa Espitia A, Sánchez Gutiérrez M, Martínez Pérez F, Monrroy A, et al. Presence, processing, and localization of mouse ADAM15 during sperm maturation and the role of its disintegrin domain during sperm-egg binding. Reproduction. 2008;136:41-51 pubmed publisher
    ..detected by Western blotting, which revealed that ADAM15 is post-translationally processed, during epididymal sperm maturation and the acrosome reaction...
  26. Frenette G, Lessard C, Sullivan R. Selected proteins of "prostasome-like particles" from epididymal cauda fluid are transferred to epididymal caput spermatozoa in bull. Biol Reprod. 2002;67:308-13 pubmed
    ..These results are discussed with regard to the function of PLPCd in epididymal sperm maturation.
  27. Whelly S, Johnson S, Powell J, Borchardt C, Hastert M, Cornwall G. Nonpathological extracellular amyloid is present during normal epididymal sperm maturation. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e36394 pubmed publisher
    ..These studies suggest the presence of a functional amyloid structure that may carry out roles in sperm maturation or maintenance of the luminal milieu and which itself may undergo maturational changes along the epididymis...
  28. Schon J, Blottner S. Estrogens are involved in seasonal regulation of spermatogenesis and sperm maturation in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2008;159:257-63 pubmed publisher
    ..We conclude that estrogens in the roe buck influence the seasonally determined sperm production predominantly by the regulated expression of ERalpha. ..
  29. Casini M, Gerli S, Unfer V. An infertile couple suffering from oligospermia by partial sperm maturation arrest: can phytoestrogens play a therapeutic role? A case report study. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2006;22:399-401 pubmed
    We describe the case of a 30-year-old man with severe oligospermia, caused by partial sperm maturation arrest at spermatidic stage, who was given phytoestrogens. The couple had been trying to conceive for 3 years...
  30. Monclus M, Cesari A, Cabrillana M, Borelli P, Vincenti A, Burgos M, et al. Mouse sperm rosette: assembling during epididymal transit, in vitro disassemble, and oligosaccharide participation in the linkage material. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2007;290:814-24 pubmed
    ..transit and are verified at the caudal region, suggesting a relation between epididymal transit and sperm maturation. In drops of epididymal content obtained from distal (cauda), but not from proximal (caput and corpus) ..
  31. Schnackenberg B, Palazzo R, Marzluff W. Cyclin E/Cdk2 is required for sperm maturation, but not DNA replication, in early sea urchin embryos. Genesis. 2007;45:282-91 pubmed
    ..We conclude that cyclin E/cdk2 activity is required for male pronuclear maturation, but not for initiation of DNA replication in early sea urchin development. ..
  32. Chan H, Zhang Y. Epididymial defensins and sperm maturation. Andrologia. 2005;37:200-1 pubmed
  33. Lin M, Lee Y, Xu W, Baker M, Aitken R. Ontogeny of tyrosine phosphorylation-signaling pathways during spermatogenesis and epididymal maturation in the mouse. Biol Reprod. 2006;75:588-97 pubmed
  34. Rejraji H, Sion B, Prensier G, Carreras M, Motta C, Frenoux J, et al. Lipid remodeling of murine epididymosomes and spermatozoa during epididymal maturation. Biol Reprod. 2006;74:1104-13 pubmed
    ..30) during epididymal transit. These data suggest that in contrast with epididymosomes, spermatozoal membranes seem to become more fluid during epididymal maturation. ..
  35. Dacheux J, Gatti J, Dacheux F. Contribution of epididymal secretory proteins for spermatozoa maturation. Microsc Res Tech. 2003;61:7-17 pubmed
    ..Correlations between the highly regionalized epididymal activities and sperm characteristics linked to their survival and fertility potential are presented in this review. ..
  36. Baker M, Smith N, Hetherington L, Pelzing M, Condina M, Aitken R. Use of titanium dioxide to find phosphopeptide and total protein changes during epididymal sperm maturation. J Proteome Res. 2011;10:1004-17 pubmed publisher
    ..These data provide mechanistic insight into the means by which spermatozoa acquire functionality during epididymal transit. ..
  37. Sostaric E, Aalberts M, Gadella B, Stout T. The roles of the epididymis and prostasomes in the attainment of fertilizing capacity by stallion sperm. Anim Reprod Sci. 2008;107:237-48 pubmed publisher
    The epididymis is a long, tightly coiled tube within the lumen of which sperm matures. Sperm maturation involves morphological and biochemical changes in the sperm plasma membrane in response to epididymal secretions and their various ..
  38. Kirchhoff C, Osterhoff C, Pera I, Schroter S. Function of human epididymal proteins in sperm maturation. Andrologia. 1998;30:225-32 pubmed
  39. Eickhoff R, Baldauf C, Koyro H, Wennemuth G, Suga Y, Seitz J, et al. Influence of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) on the zinc content and redox state of protein-bound sulphydryl groups in rat sperm: indications for a new role of MIF in sperm maturation. Mol Hum Reprod. 2004;10:605-11 pubmed
    The function of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in sperm maturation was studied by investigating its role in the biochemical maturation of the outer dense fibres...
  40. Huang Z, Vijayaraghavan S. Increased phosphorylation of a distinct subcellular pool of protein phosphatase, PP1gamma2, during epididymal sperm maturation. Biol Reprod. 2004;70:439-47 pubmed
    ..The distinct subcellular localization and changes in its level during sperm maturation suggest a possible role for sperm phosphorylated PP1gamma2 in signaling events during fertilization.
  41. Sullivan R, Légaré C, Thabet M, Thimon V. Gene expression in the epididymis of normal and vasectomized men: what can we learn about human sperm maturation?. J Androl. 2011;32:686-97 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, clinical observations suggest that it may not be as important for sperm maturation as is the case for laboratory animals...
  42. Nixon B, Ecroyd H, Dacheux J, Jones R. Monotremes provide a key to understanding the evolutionary significance of epididymal sperm maturation. J Androl. 2011;32:665-71 pubmed publisher
    ..However, the necessity for such a complex process of posttesticular sperm maturation appears to be unique to mammals because it is well established that these processes do not directly ..
  43. Belleannee C, Belghazi M, Labas V, Teixeira Gomes A, Gatti J, Dacheux J, et al. Purification and identification of sperm surface proteins and changes during epididymal maturation. Proteomics. 2011;11:1952-64 pubmed publisher
    ..This approach opens up a new area in the search for male fertility markers. ..
  44. Wong P, Taillefer D, Lakins J, Pineault J, Chader G, Tenniswood M. Molecular characterization of human TRPM-2/clusterin, a gene associated with sperm maturation, apoptosis and neurodegeneration. Eur J Biochem. 1994;221:917-25 pubmed
    ..to be firmly established, the gene has been implicated in a variety of physiological processes, including sperm maturation, lipid transport, membrane remodelling and inhibition of the complement cascade...
  45. Netzel Arnett S, Bugge T, Hess R, Carnes K, Stringer B, Scarman A, et al. The glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored serine protease PRSS21 (testisin) imparts murine epididymal sperm cell maturation and fertilizing ability. Biol Reprod. 2009;81:921-32 pubmed publisher
    ..These data suggest that aberrant regulation of PRSS21 may underlie certain secondary male infertility syndromes, such as "easily decapitated" spermatozoa in humans. ..
  46. Mishra S, Somanath P, Huang Z, Vijayaraghavan S. Binding and inactivation of the germ cell-specific protein phosphatase PP1gamma2 by sds22 during epididymal sperm maturation. Biol Reprod. 2003;69:1572-9 pubmed
    ..Its activity decreases during sperm maturation in the epididymis. Inhibition of PP1gamma2 leads to motility initiation and stimulation...
  47. Katagiri Y, Sato B, Yamatoya K, Taki T, Goto Inoue N, Setou M, et al. GalNAc?1,3-linked paragloboside carries the epitope of a sperm maturation-related glycoprotein that is recognized by the monoclonal antibody MC121. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011;406:326-31 pubmed publisher
    ..These results indicated that the epitope to which MC121 binds is present in a neolacto-series GSL, IV³GalNAc?-nLc?Cer² sequence. ..
  48. Cooper T. The epididymis, cytoplasmic droplets and male fertility. Asian J Androl. 2011;13:130-8 pubmed publisher
    ..This may reflect their short midpiece, approximating head length, permitting a swollen droplet to extend along the entire midpiece; this not only obviates droplet migration and flagellar angulation but also hampers droplet loss. ..
  49. Zhang L, Hu Z, Zhu C, Liu Q, Zhou Y, Zhang Y. Identification and characterization of an epididymis-specific gene, Ces7. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2009;41:809-15 pubmed
    ..Furthermore, Ces7 increased with age growth until sex maturation and then maintained at high level. CES7 might be one of the major CEs in male reproductive tract and contribute to the sperm fertilization...
  50. Girouard J, Frenette G, Sullivan R. Seminal plasma proteins regulate the association of lipids and proteins within detergent-resistant membrane domains of bovine spermatozoa. Biol Reprod. 2008;78:921-31 pubmed publisher
    ..This process could be physiologically relevant in vivo to allow sperm survival and attachment within the female reproductive tract and to potentiate recognition, binding, and penetration of the oocyte. ..
  51. Fabrega A, Guyonnet B, Dacheux J, Gatti J, Puigmulé M, Bonet S, et al. Expression, immunolocalization and processing of fertilins ADAM-1 and ADAM-2 in the boar (Sus domesticus) spermatozoa during epididymal maturation. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2011;9:96 pubmed publisher
    ..Characterization of such fertilin complex maturation patterns is an important step to develop fertility markers based on epididymal maturation of surface membrane proteins in domestic mammals. ..
  52. Hunnicutt G, Koppel D, Myles D. Analysis of the process of localization of fertilin to the sperm posterior head plasma membrane domain during sperm maturation in the epididymis. Dev Biol. 1997;191:146-59 pubmed
  53. Patel R, Al Dossary A, Stabley D, Barone C, Galileo D, Strehler E, et al. Plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase 4 in murine epididymis: secretion of splice variants in the luminal fluid and a role in sperm maturation. Biol Reprod. 2013;89:6 pubmed publisher
    ..blotting) and ~2-fold after incubation in ELF, revealing in vitro uptake and implicating PMCA4a in epididymal sperm maturation. Coimmunoprecipitation using pan-PMCA4 antibodies, revealed that both variants associate with CASK, ..