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Biol Reprod. 2005 Dec;73(6):1235-42. Epub 2005 Aug 17.

Catsper3 and catsper4 encode two cation channel-like proteins exclusively expressed in the testis.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA.


CATSPER1 and CATSPER2 are two cation channel-like proteins exclusively expressed in the testis and essential for normal sperm motility and male fertility. Using in silico subtraction and database mining, we identified expressed sequence tags encoding two previously uncharacterized cation channel-like proteins structurally homologous to CATSPER1 and CATSPER2. Similar to CATSPER1 and CATSPER2, these two proteins contain a single-ion transport domain comprised of six transmembrane spanning regions, in which the fourth transmembrane region resembles a voltage sensor and a pore-forming region lies between transmembrane regions 5 and 6. The pore contains the consensus sequence T x D x W, which is indicative of a potential calcium-selective channel. The mRNAs for Catsper3 and Catsper4 were detected exclusively in the testis using multitissue Northern blot and RT-PCR analyses. The onsets of both genes coincide with the first appearance of spermatids during testicular development. In situ hybridization analyses revealed that Catsper3 and Catsper4 mRNAs displayed identical localization patterns and were confined to spermatids of steps 1-8. Immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry analyses demonstrated that these two proteins were expressed within the acrosome of late spermatids and spermatozoa. Our data suggest that CATSPER3 and CATSPER4 are two cation-channel proteins and have roles in acrosome reaction and male fertility.

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