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Avian uterine fluid proteome: exosomes and biological processes potentially involved in sperm survival

  • Riou, Cindy
  • Brionne, Aurélien
  • Cordeiro, Luiz-Augusto
  • Harichaux, Grégoire
  • Gargaros, Audrey
  • Labas, Valérie
  • Gautron, Joël
  • Gérard, Nadine
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
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Uterine fluid is an aqueous milieu to which sperm are exposed during their storage and ascent. In this study a bottom up proteomic strategy and bioinformatic analysis of hen uterine fluid was performed to improve understanding of this fluid and its potential role in sperm survival mechanisms. The proteomic data were submitted to ProteomeXchange. Among the 913 proteins identified, 160 are known to be secreted and 640 are referenced in exosomes databases. We isolated exosomes from avian uterine fluid, analyzed them using electron microscopy and targeted several exosomes markers (ANXA1/2/4/5, VCP, HSP90A, HSPA8, PARK7, and MDH1) using immunoblotting. Electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry were also used to analyze uterovaginal junctions for the exosomal proteins ANXA4, VCP and PARK7. Exosomes were observed both at the surface epithelium and inside sperm storage tubules. Our data were compared to two previously published studies on proteomic of hen uterine fluid, and with one study describing the proteomic content of rooster seminal plasma and sperm. In conclusion, we demonstrated for the first time that avian uterine fluid contains exosomes. These may play a key role in preserving sperm functions within the female genital tract. Their presence in the sperm storage tubules may represent an important mechanism regarding interaction between the female genital tract and sperm.

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