Global Profiling of Surface Plasma Membrane Proteome of Oviductal Epithelial Cells

In mammalian reproduction, many important events occur within the female reproductive tract, especially within the oviduct. These include transport and final maturation of the female and male gametes, fertilization, embryonic development, and transport of the embryo to the uterus. The plasma membrane molecules of oviductal epithelia that are in direct contact with gametes and embryo(s) and potentially mediate these processes are poorly characterized, and their function is poorly understood. Defining the oviductal cell surface proteome could provide a better understanding of the basis of reproductive processes taking place within the oviduct. We aimed to provide a detailed profile of the surface plasma membrane proteome of the oviductal epithelium by biotinylation of proteins at the cell surface, followed by highly specific purification of these proteins using avidin. This approach for enrichment of oviductal cell surface proteome was validated by immunohistochemistry, gel electrophoresis, and western blot analysis experiments. The enriched molecules were identified using two different technologies:  (i) the combination of 2D gel electrophoresis with mass spectrometry and (ii) 1D gel electrophoresis with mass spectrometry (a modified multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT) technique). The number of proteins identified using the MudPIT approach was approximately 7 times the number of proteins identified by 2D gel electophoresis using the same samples (40 versus 276, respectively). Some of the proteins found at the surface of oviductal cells had previously been reported as present in the oviduct and to have known functions in relation to reproductive processes. The other category of proteins that were highly represented in the oviductal surface proteome were various members of the family of heat-shock proteins. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive study to identify and characterize proteins at the surface of the epithelium of the mammalian oviduct. Keywords: reproduction • oviductal epithelium • surface proteome • biotinylation