Deciphering the signalling and metabolic pathways required for sperm motility and fertilization potential.
In mammals, sperm cells produced within the testis are structurally differentiated but remain immotile and are unable to fertilize the oocyte unless they undergo a series of maturation events during their transit through the male and female genital tracts. This post-testicular functional maturation is tightly controlled by the ion content, pH, and nutrient availability. In particular, ion fluxes play an essential role in controlling sperm motility and capacitation within the female genital tract. Our group was pioneer in investigating the functions of SLC26 transmembrane anion exchangers in sperm cells and showed that the sperm specific SLC26A8 protein is required for sperm motility and capacitation, both in mice and in humans, by activating the cAMP-PKA pathway in cooperation with the CFTR channel. We also demonstrated that SLC26A3, mainly expressed in the gastro-intestinal tract, is required within both the sperm cells and the epididymal cells to confer proper sperm maturation and fertilization potential. Overall, our work indicates that SLC26 channels constitute important regulators of anion fluxes in the processes of sperm maturation and activation.
Our current work aims at further characterizing their downstream signaling pathways. Besides, we are investigating the specific features of the associated metabolic pathways in spermatozoa compared to somatic cells.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23, (2022)
Clinical genetics 99, 684—693 (2021)
Molecular reproduction and development 85, 682—695 (2018)
The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 52, 58—67 (2014)
American journal of human genetics 92, 760—766 (2013)