In addition to delivering a haploid genome to the egg, sperm have additional critical functions, including egg activation, origination of the zygote centrosome and delivery of paternal factors. Despite this, existing knowledge of the molecular basis of sperm form and function is limited. We used whole-sperm mass spectrometry to identify 381 proteins of the Drosophila melanogaster sperm proteome (DmSP). This approach identified mitochondrial, metabolic and cytoskeletal proteins, in addition to several new functional categories. We also observed nonrandom genomic clustering of sperm genes and underrepresentation on the X chromosome. Identification of widespread functional constraint on the proteome indicates that sexual selection has had a limited role in the overall evolution of D. melanogaster sperm. The relevance of the DmSP to the study of mammalian sperm function and fertilization mechanisms is demonstrated by the identification of substantial homology between the DmSP and proteins of the mouse axoneme accessory structure.
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