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Genes Cells. 2017 May;22(5):493-500. doi: 10.1111/gtc.12491. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Lipid raft dynamics linked to sperm competency for fertilization in mice.

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Laboratory of Integrative Biological Science and Animal Experiments for Regeneration, Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences and Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606-8507, Japan.


It is well known that mammalian sperm acquires fertilization ability after several maturation processes, particularly within the female reproductive tract. In a previous study, we found that both glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored protein (GPI-AP) release and lipid raft movement occur during the sperm maturation process. In several genetic studies, release of GPI-AP is a crucial step for sperm fertilization ability in the mouse. Here, we show that lipid raft movement is also fundamental for sperm to be competent for fertilization by comparing the sperm maturation process of two mouse inbred strains, C57BL/6 and BALB/c. We found that ganglioside GM1 movement was exclusively reduced in BALB/c compared with C57BL/6 among other examined sperm maturation parameters, such as GPI-AP release, sperm migration to the oviduct, cholesterol efflux, protein tyrosine phosphorylation and acrosome reaction, and was strongly linked to sperm fertility phenotype. The relationship between GM1 movement and in vitro fertilization ability was confirmed in other mouse strains, suggesting that lipid raft movement is one of the important steps for completing the sperm maturation process.

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