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Science. 2014 May 16;344(6185):754-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1250598.

Neurosensory perception of environmental cues modulates sperm motility critical for fertilization.

Author information

1
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
2
Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
3
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
4
Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
5
Department of Chemistry, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
6
Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
7
Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA. mamiller@uab.edu.

Abstract

Environmental exposures affect gamete function and fertility, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we show that pheromones sensed by ciliated neurons in the Caenorhabditis elegans nose alter the lipid microenvironment within the oviduct, thereby affecting sperm motility. In favorable environments, pheromone-responsive sensory neurons secrete a transforming growth factor-β ligand called DAF-7, which acts as a neuroendocrine factor that stimulates prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase [cyclooxygenase (Cox)]-independent prostaglandin synthesis in the ovary. Oocytes secrete F-class prostaglandins that guide sperm toward them. These prostaglandins are also synthesized in Cox knockout mice, raising the possibility that similar mechanisms exist in other animals. Our data indicate that environmental cues perceived by the female nervous system affect sperm function.

PMID:
24833393
PMCID:
PMC4094289
DOI:
10.1126/science.1250598
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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