Asian journal of andrology

The role of cysteine-rich secretory proteins in male fertility.

PMID 20972450


The cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPs) are a subgroup of the CRISP, antigen 5 and Pr-1 (CAP) protein superfamily, and are found only in vertebrates. They show a strong expression bias to the mammalian male reproductive tract and the venom of poisonous reptiles. Within the male reproductive tract CRISPs have been implicated in many aspects of male germ cell biology spanning haploid germ cell development, epididymal maturation, capacitation, motility and the actual processes of fertilization. At a structural level, CRISPs are composed of two domains, a CAP domain, which has been implicated in cell-cell adhesion, and a CRISP domain, which has been shown to regulate several classes of ion channels across multiple species. Herein, we will review the current literature on the role of CRISPs in male fertility, and by inference to related non-mammalian protein, infer potential biochemical functions.