2020 Volume 57 Issue 1 Pages 88-96
Because of the presence of sperm storage tubules (SSTs) in the utero-vaginal junction (UVJ) in the oviduct, once ejaculated sperm enter the female reproductive tract, they can survive for a prolonged period in domestic birds; however, the specific mechanisms involved in sperm maintenance within the SST remain to be elucidated. In this study, we showed that transferrin (TF) and albumin (ALB) are expressed in SSTs. When UVJ extracts were subjected to size-exclusion column chromatography, we obtained fractions that extend sperm longevity in vitro. LC-MS/MS analysis of the two major proteins in the fractions identified these proteins as TF and ALB. Immunohistochemical analysis using specific antisera against TF and ALB indicated that both proteins were localized not only in the SSTs, but also in the surface epithelium of the UVJ. When the ejaculated sperm were incubated with either purified TF or ALB, sperm viability increased after 24 h. These results indicated that oviductal TF and ALB are involved in the process of sperm storage in SSTs and may open a new approach for technological improvement to prolong sperm longevity in vitro.