Author(s): Wennemuth G, Westenbroek RE, Xu T, Hille B, Babcock DF
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Abstract As sperm prepare for fertilization, surface Ca(2+) channels must open to initiate required, Ca(2+)-mediated events. However, the molecular identity and functional properties of sperm Ca(2+) channels remain uncertain. Here, we use rapid local perfusion and single-cell photometry to examine the kinetics of calcium responses of mouse sperm to depolarizing stimuli. The linear rise of intracellular [Ca(2+)] evoked by approximately 10-s applications of an alkaline high [K(+)] medium directly reports activity of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. Little response occurs if external Ca(2+) is removed or if external or internal pH is elevated without depolarization. Responses are inhibited 30-40\% by 30-100 micrometer Ni(2+) and more completely by 100-300 micrometer Cd(2+). They resist the dihydropyridines nitrendipine and PN200-110, but 1-10 micrometer mibefradil inhibits reversibly. They also resist the venom toxins calciseptine, omega-conotoxin MVIIC, and kurtoxin, but omega-conotoxin GVIA (5 micrometer) inhibits approximately 50\%. GVIA also partially blocks transient, low voltage activated Ca(2+) currents of patch-clamped spermatids. Differential sensitivity of sperm responses to Ni(2+) and Cd(2+) and partial blockade by GVIA indicate that depolarization opens at least two types of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels in epididymal sperm examined prior to capacitation. Involvement of a previously undetected Ca(V)2.2 (N-type) channel, suggested by the action of GVIA, is substantiated by immunodetection of Ca(2+) channel alpha(1B) subunits in sperm and sperm extracts. Resistance to dihydropyridines, calciseptine, MVIIC, and kurtoxin indicates that Ca(V)1, Ca(V)2.1, and Ca(V)3 (L-, P/Q-, and T-type) channels contribute little to this evoked response. Partial sensitivity to 1 micrometer mibefradil and an enhanced sensitivity of the GVIA-resistant component of response to Ni(2+) suggest participation of a Ca(V)2.3 (R-type) channel specified by previously found alpha(1E) subunits. Our examination of depolarization-evoked Ca(2+) entry indicates that mature sperm possess a larger palette of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels than previously thought. Such diversity may permit specific responses to multiple cues encountered on the path to fertilization.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology