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EMBO J. 2015 Feb 3;34(3):379-92. doi: 10.15252/embj.201489376. Epub 2014 Dec 22.

The CatSper channel controls chemosensation in sea urchin sperm.

Author information

1
Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (Caesar), Abteilung Molekulare Neurosensorik, Bonn, Germany Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA.
2
Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (Caesar), Abteilung Molekulare Neurosensorik, Bonn, Germany.
3
Ruhr-Universität Bochum Lehrstuhl Biochemie der Pflanzen, Bochum, Germany.
4
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA Laboratory of Molecular Signalling, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK.
5
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA Institut für Anatomie und Zellbiologie, Abteilung für Funktionelle Neuroanatomie, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
6
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA Sussex Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, UK.
7
Helmholtz-Zentrum München, Institut für Molekulare Immunologie, München, Germany.
8
Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Genetik, Berlin, Germany.
9
Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (Caesar), Abteilung Molekulare Neurosensorik, Bonn, Germany Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA timo.struenker@caesar.de u.b.kaupp@caesar.de.

Abstract

Sperm guidance is controlled by chemical and physical cues. In many species, Ca(2+) bursts in the flagellum govern navigation to the egg. In Arbacia punctulata, a model system of sperm chemotaxis, a cGMP signaling pathway controls these Ca(2+) bursts. The underlying Ca(2+) channel and its mechanisms of activation are unknown. Here, we identify CatSper Ca(2+) channels in the flagellum of A. punctulata sperm. We show that CatSper mediates the chemoattractant-evoked Ca(2+) influx and controls chemotactic steering; a concomitant alkalization serves as a highly cooperative mechanism that enables CatSper to transduce periodic voltage changes into Ca(2+) bursts. Our results reveal intriguing phylogenetic commonalities but also variations between marine invertebrates and mammals regarding the function and control of CatSper. The variations probably reflect functional and mechanistic adaptations that evolved during the transition from external to internal fertilization.

KEYWORDS:

Ca2+ signaling; CatSper; chemotaxis; sperm

PMID:
25535245
PMCID:
PMC4339123
DOI:
10.15252/embj.201489376
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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