Linking transcriptomics and proteomics in spermatogenesis

Reproduction. 2015 Nov;150(5):R149-57. doi: 10.1530/REP-15-0073.


Spermatogenesis is a complex and tightly regulated process leading to the continuous production of male gametes, the spermatozoa. This developmental process requires the sequential and coordinated expression of thousands of genes, including many that are testis-specific. The molecular networks underlying normal and pathological spermatogenesis have been widely investigated in recent decades, and many high-throughput expression studies have studied genes and proteins involved in male fertility. In this review, we focus on studies that have attempted to correlate transcription and translation during spermatogenesis by comparing the testicular transcriptome and proteome. We also discuss the recent development and use of new transcriptomic approaches that provide a better proxy for the proteome, from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Finally, we provide illustrations of how testis-derived transcriptomic and proteomic data can be integrated to address new questions and how the 'proteomics informed by transcriptomics' technique, by combining RNA-seq and MS-based proteomics, can contribute significantly to the discovery of new protein-coding genes or new protein isoforms expressed during spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology*
  • Transcriptome*


  • Proteome