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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2009 Apr;66(4):202-14. doi: 10.1002/cm.20343.

Regulation of sperm flagellar motility activation and chemotaxis caused by egg-derived substance(s) in sea cucumber.

Author information

1
Tropical Biosphere Research Center, Sesoko Station, University of the Ryukyus, Sesoko, Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. morita_m0606@yahoo.co.jp

Abstract

The sea cucumber Holothuria atra is a broadcast spawner. Among broadcast spawners, fertilization occurs by means of an egg-derived substance(s) that induces sperm flagellar motility activation and chemotaxis. Holothuria atra sperm were quiescent in seawater, but exhibited flagellar motility activation near eggs with chorion (intact eggs). In addition, they moved in a helical motion toward intact eggs as well as a capillary filled with the water layer of the egg extracts, suggesting that an egg-derived compound(s) causes motility activation and chemotaxis. Furthermore, demembranated sperm flagella were reactivated in high pH (> 7.8) solution without cAMP, and a phosphorylation assay using (gamma-32P)ATP showed that axonemal protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation also occurred in a pH-dependent manner. These results suggest that the activation of sperm motility in holothurians is controlled by pH-sensitive changes in axonemal protein phosphorylation. Ca2+ concentration affected the swimming trajectory of demembranated sperm, indicating that Ca2+-binding proteins present at the flagella may be associated with regulation of flagellar waveform. Moreover, the phosphorylation states of several axonemal proteins were Ca2+-sensitive, indicating that Ca2+ impacts both kinase and phosphatase activities. In addition, in vivo sperm protein phosphorylation occurred after treatment with a water-soluble egg extract. Our results suggest that one or more egg-derived compounds activate motility and subsequent chemotactic behavior via Ca2+-sensitive flagellar protein phosphorylation.

PMID:
19235200
DOI:
10.1002/cm.20343
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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