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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2019 Jan 8. pii: mcp.RA118.001133. doi: 10.1074/mcp.RA118.001133. [Epub ahead of print]

Phosphoproteomic and functional analyses reveal sperm-specific protein changes downstream of kappa opioid receptor in human spermatozoa.

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Department of Physiology. Faculty of Medicine and Nursery. University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain, 49840., Spain.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Faculty of Pharmacy. University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Vitoria-Gasteiz, Araba, Spain, Spain.
University of Southern Denmark.
Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas. CSIC, Sevilla, Spain,41092., Spain.
Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas. CSIC, Sevilla, Spain,41092, Spain.
Hospital Universitario Cruces. Biocruces, Baracaldo, Bizkaia, Spain,4890, Spain.
University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark


G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to the seven transmembrane receptor superfamily that transduce signals via G proteins in response to external stimuli to initiate different intracellular signaling pathways which culminate in specific cellular responses. The expression of diverse GPCRs at the plasma membrane of human spermatozoa suggests their involvement in the regulation of sperm fertility. However, the signaling events downstream of many GPCRs in spermatozoa remain uncharacterized. Here, we selected the kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) as a study model and applied phosphoproteomic approach based on TMT labeling and LC-MS/MS analyses. Quantitative coverage of more than 5000 proteins with over 3500 phosphorylation sites revealed changes in the phosphorylation levels of sperm-specific proteins involved in the regulation of the sperm fertility in response to a specific agonist of KOR, U50488H. Further functional studies indicate that KOR could be involved in the regulation of sperm fertile capacity by modulation of calcium channels. Our findings suggest that human spermatozoa possess unique features in the molecular mechanisms downstream of GPCRs which could be key regulators of sperm fertility and improved knowledge of these specific processes may contribute to the development of useful biochemical tools for diagnosis and treatment of male infertility.


Cell biology*; GPCR; Human Spermatozoa; KOR; Molecular biology*; Phosphoproteome; Physiology*; Quantification; TMT labeling

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