Author(s): Urner F, Sakkas D
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Abstract Spermatozoa undergo a series of changes before and during egg binding to acquire the ability to fuse with the oocyte. These priming events are regulated by the activation of compartmentalized intracellular signalling pathways, which control the phosphorylation status of sperm proteins. Increased protein tyrosine phosphorylation is associated with capacitation, hyperactivated motility, zona pellucida binding, acrosome reaction and sperm-oocyte binding and fusion. The main tyrosine phosphorylated proteins during the course of capacitation and fertilization are localized to the flagellum, although tyrosine phosphorylation of less abundant proteins may also be regulated in the sperm head. Spermatozoa bound to the zona pellucida and fusing with the oocyte plasma membrane are characterized by a tyrosine phosphorylated flagellum. Protein phosphorylation in the flagellum is linked to hyperactivated motility in spermatozoa, but may also regulate additional functions involved in sperm-oocyte fusion. Factors involved in the appearance of phosphorylation more likely arise from the milieu surrounding the spermatozoa, but their uptake and processing are likely to be regulated differentially at specific steps within the female genital tract and during penetration of the egg vestments. One of these factors is glucose, the metabolic products of which (ATP and NADPH) appear to participate in signalling pathways by supporting a precise onset of tyrosine phosphorylation in the sperm flagellum leading to successful fertilization.
This article was published in Reproduction
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology