Large-scale and high-confidence proteomic analysis of human seminal plasma

Genome Biol. 2006;7(5):R40. doi: 10.1186/gb-2006-7-5-r40. Epub 2006 May 18.


Background: The development of mass spectrometric (MS) techniques now allows the investigation of very complex protein mixtures ranging from subcellular structures to tissues. Body fluids are also popular targets of proteomic analysis because of their potential for biomarker discovery. Seminal plasma has not yet received much attention from the proteomics community but its characterization could provide a future reference for virtually all studies involving human sperm. The fluid is essential for the survival of spermatozoa and their successful journey through the female reproductive tract.

Results: Here we report the high-confidence identification of 923 proteins in seminal fluid from a single individual. Fourier transform MS enabled parts per million mass accuracy, and two consecutive stages of MS fragmentation allowed confident identification of proteins even by single peptides. Analysis with GoMiner annotated two-thirds of the seminal fluid proteome and revealed a large number of extracellular proteins including many proteases. Other proteins originated from male accessory glands and have important roles in spermatozoan survival.

Conclusion: This high-confidence characterization of seminal plasma content provides an inventory of proteins with potential roles in fertilization. When combined with quantitative proteomics methodologies, it should be useful for studies of fertilization, male infertility, and prostatic and testicular cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteome / physiology
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Proteomics / standards
  • Quality Control
  • Semen / chemistry*


  • Proteome