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Long-term interaction between Drosophila sperm and sex peptide is mediated by other seminal proteins that bind only transiently to sperm

Singh, Akanksha, Buehner, Norene A., Lin, He, Baranowski, Kaitlyn J., Findlay, Geoffrey D., Wolfner, Mariana F.
Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 2018 v.102 pp. 43-51
Drosophila melanogaster, female reproductive system, females, seminal plasma proteins, spermatozoa
Seminal fluid proteins elicit several post-mating physiological changes in mated Drosophila melanogaster females. Some of these changes persist for over a week after mating because the seminal protein that causes these changes, the Sex Peptide (SP), binds to sperm that are stored in the female reproductive tract. SP's sperm binding is mediated by a network of at least eight seminal proteins. We show here that some of these network proteins (CG1656, CG1652, CG9997 and Antares) bind to sperm within 2 h of mating, like SP. However, while SP remains bound to sperm at 4 days post-mating, none of the other network proteins are detectable at this time. We also observed that the same network proteins are detectable at 2 h post-mating in seminal receptacle tissue from which sperm have been removed, but are no longer detectable there by 4 days post-mating, suggesting short-term retention of these proteins in this female sperm storage organ. Our results suggest that these network proteins act transiently to facilitate the conditions for SP's binding to sperm, perhaps by modifying SP or the sperm surface, but are not part of a long-acting complex that stably attaches SP to sperm.