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      Roles of Intracellular Cyclic AMP Signal Transduction in the Capacitation and Subsequent Hyperactivation of Mouse and Boar Spermatozoa

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          It is not until accomplishment of a variety of molecular changes during the transit through the female reproductive tract that mammalian spermatozoa are capable of exhibiting highly activated motility with asymmetric whiplash beating of the flagella (hyperactivation) and undergoing acrosomal exocytosis in the head (acrosome reaction). These molecular changes of the spermatozoa are collectively termed capacitation and promoted by bicarbonate, calcium and cholesterol acceptors. Such capacitation-promoting factors can stimulate intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP) signal transduction in the spermatozoa. Meanwhile, hyperactivation and the acrosome reaction are essential to sperm fertilization with oocytes and are apparently triggered by a sufficient increase of intracellular Ca 2+ in the sperm flagellum and head, respectively. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the relationship between cAMP signal transduction and calcium signaling cascades in the spermatozoa for the purpose of understanding the molecular basis of capacitation. In this review, I cover updated insights regarding intracellular cAMP signal transduction, the acrosome reaction and flagellar motility in mammalian spermatozoa and then account for possible roles of intracellular cAMP signal transduction in the capacitation and subsequent hyperactivation of mouse and boar spermatozoa.

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          Most cited references 126

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          Soluble adenylyl cyclase as an evolutionarily conserved bicarbonate sensor.

          Spermatozoa undergo a poorly understood activation process induced by bicarbonate and mediated by cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP). It has been assumed that bicarbonate mediates its effects through changes in intracellular pH or membrane potential; however, we demonstrate here that bicarbonate directly stimulates mammalian soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) activity in vivo and in vitro in a pH-independent manner. sAC is most similar to adenylyl cyclases from cyanobacteria, and bicarbonate regulation of cyclase activity is conserved in these early forms of life. sAC is also expressed in other bicarbonate-responsive tissues, which suggests that bicarbonate regulation of cAMP signaling plays a fundamental role in many biological systems.
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            Progesterone activates the principal Ca2+ channel of human sperm.

            Steroid hormone progesterone released by cumulus cells surrounding the egg is a potent stimulator of human spermatozoa. It attracts spermatozoa towards the egg and helps them penetrate the egg's protective vestments. Progesterone induces Ca(2+) influx into spermatozoa and triggers multiple Ca(2+)-dependent physiological responses essential for successful fertilization, such as sperm hyperactivation, acrosome reaction and chemotaxis towards the egg. As an ovarian hormone, progesterone acts by regulating gene expression through a well-characterized progesterone nuclear receptor. However, the effect of progesterone upon transcriptionally silent spermatozoa remains unexplained and is believed to be mediated by a specialized, non-genomic membrane progesterone receptor. The identity of this non-genomic progesterone receptor and the mechanism by which it causes Ca(2+) entry remain fundamental unresolved questions in human reproduction. Here we elucidate the mechanism of the non-genomic action of progesterone on human spermatozoa by identifying the Ca(2+) channel activated by progesterone. By applying the patch-clamp technique to mature human spermatozoa, we found that nanomolar concentrations of progesterone dramatically potentiate CatSper, a pH-dependent Ca(2+) channel of the sperm flagellum. We demonstrate that human CatSper is synergistically activated by elevation of intracellular pH and extracellular progesterone. Interestingly, human CatSper can be further potentiated by prostaglandins, but apparently through a binding site other than that of progesterone. Because our experimental conditions did not support second messenger signalling, CatSper or a directly associated protein serves as the elusive non-genomic progesterone receptor of sperm. Given that the CatSper-associated progesterone receptor is sperm specific and structurally different from the genomic progesterone receptor, it represents a promising target for the development of a new class of non-hormonal contraceptives.
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              The immunoglobulin superfamily protein Izumo is required for sperm to fuse with eggs.

              Representing the 60 trillion cells that build a human body, a sperm and an egg meet, recognize each other, and fuse to form a new generation of life. The factors involved in this important membrane fusion event, fertilization, have been sought for a long time. Recently, CD9 on the egg membrane was found to be essential for fusion, but sperm-related fusion factors remain unknown. Here, by using a fusion-inhibiting monoclonal antibody and gene cloning, we identify a mouse sperm fusion-related antigen and show that the antigen is a novel immunoglobulin superfamily protein. We have termed the gene Izumo and produced a gene-disrupted mouse line. Izumo-/- mice were healthy but males were sterile. They produced normal-looking sperm that bound to and penetrated the zona pellucida but were incapable of fusing with eggs. Human sperm also contain Izumo and addition of the antibody against human Izumo left the sperm unable to fuse with zona-free hamster eggs.

                Author and article information

                J Reprod Dev
                J. Reprod. Dev
                The Journal of Reproduction and Development
                The Society for Reproduction and Development
                26 October 2013
                October 2013
                : 59
                : 5
                : 421-430
                [1) ]Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Kobe 657-8501, Japan
                Author notes
                Correspondence : H Harayama (e-mail: harayama@ 123456kobe-u.ac.jp )
                ©2013 Society for Reproduction and Development

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) License.

                SRD Outstanding Research Award 2012


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