Mar 27, 2018

Asymmetrically Positioned Flagellar Control Units Regulate Human Sperm Rotation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Melissa MillerPolina V Lishko


The ability of sperm to fertilize an egg is controlled by ion channels, one of which is the pH-dependent calcium channel of sperm CatSper. For CatSper to be fully activated, the cytoplasmic pH must be alkaline, which is accomplished by either proton transporters, or a faster mechanism, such as the voltage-gated proton channel Hv1. To ensure effective regulation, these channels and regulatory proteins must be tightly compartmentalized. Here, we characterize human sperm nanodomains that are comprised of Hv1, CatSper and regulatory protein ABHD2. Super-resolution microscopy revealed that Hv1 forms asymmetrically positioned bilaterally distributed longitudinal lines that span the entire length of the sperm tail. Such a distribution provides a direct structural basis for the selective activation of CatSper, and subsequent flagellar rotation along the long axis that, together with hyperactivated motility, enhances sperm fertility. Indeed, Hv1 inhibition leads to a decrease in sperm rotation. Thus, sperm ion channels are organized in distinct regulatory nanodomains that control hyperactivated motility and rotation.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Cell Motility
Regulation of Biological Process
Infertility Study
Sperm Cell
Hv1 channel, human
Calcium Channel

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