Deleting a particular ion channel from sperm cells causes those cells to lose the power needed for fertilization, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas found while expanding studies into male infertility.
These findings, which could eventually lead to more effective forms of contraception, are currently available online and will appear in the Dec. 9 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In studies on mice, disrupting a gene that contains a putative calcium-permeable ion channel – identified in earlier research as CatSper2 – did not change normal sperm cell production or basic sperm motility, or movement. It did, however, prevent the appearance of a stimulated form of sperm motility, called hyperactivation, normally seen near the time of fertilization. Sperm cells were, thus, incapable of generating the power needed to penetrate an egg cells extracellular matrix, or outer shell, which is necessary for fertilization.
Donna Steph Hansard | EurekAlert!
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