Researchers from the University of Murcia, led by María José Izquierdo Rico and Francisco Alberto García Vázquez, together with the Oceanogràfic Foundation of Valencia, led by María del Carmen Fuentes Albero and Daniel García Párraga, have published an article where they describe for the first time the proteins present in dolphin semen.
This description is the first to be made of the proteome both from the sperm and the seminal plasma of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) as a model organism of cetaceans.
Proteins play an important role in many reproductive functions, such as maturation and physiology of sperm. However, the researchers note in their research that generally sand little information is available on reproductive characteristics in the case of aquatic animals.
Ejaculate samples were obtained voluntarily of two dolphins trained and housed in an aquarium, and sperm and seminal plasma were analyzed by proteomic analysis using LC-MS / MS.
Of the 423 proteins identified in sperm and 307 in seminal plasma, 111 proteins were shared by both. What’s more, 70 proteins involved in reproductive processes were identified, 39 in sperm and 31 in seminal plasma. The five most abundant proteins in these samples were also identified: AKAP3, ODF2, TUBB, GST3, ROPN1 for sperm and CST11, LTF, ALB, HSP90B1, PIGR for seminal plasma.
The results have shown that many of the proteins present in the semen of this species are common to the human and bovine species (proximate phylogenetically). These results will help to understand more deeply the reproductive physiology of these animals and therefore the future conservation of aquatic mammals.
This results pave the way for future research on new biomarkers, the analysis of the conservation capacity or possible additional applications in the field of assisted reproductive technologies.