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3 May 2018 The flagellar protein Enkurin is required for mouse sperm motility and for transport through the female reproductive tract
Melissa K. Jungnickel, Keith A. Sutton, Mark A. Baker, Michael G. Cohen, Michael J. Sanderson, Harvey M. Florman
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Abstract

Enkurin was identified initially in mouse sperm where it was suggested to act as an intracellular adaptor protein linking membrane calcium influx to intracellular signaling pathways. In order to examine the function of this protein, a targeted mutation was introduced into the mouse Enkurin gene. Males that were homozygous for this mutated allele were subfertile. This was associated with lower rates of sperm transport in the female reproductive tract, including reduced entry into the oviduct and slower migration to the site of fertilization in the distal oviduct, and with poor progressive motility in vitro. Flagella from wild-type animals exhibited symmetrical bending and progressive motility in culture medium, and demembranated flagella exhibited the “curlicue” response to Ca2+ in vitro. In contrast, flagella of mice homozygous for the mutated allele displayed only asymmetric bending, nonprogressive motility, and a loss of Ca2+-responsiveness following demembrantion. We propose that Enkurin is part of a flagellar Ca2+-sensor that regulates bending and that the motility defects following mutation of the locus are the proximate cause of subfertility.

Summary Sentence

The protein Enkurin is essential for control of flagellar bending and for sperm transport through the female reproductive tract.

© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Society for the Study of Reproduction. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com
Melissa K. Jungnickel, Keith A. Sutton, Mark A. Baker, Michael G. Cohen, Michael J. Sanderson, and Harvey M. Florman "The flagellar protein Enkurin is required for mouse sperm motility and for transport through the female reproductive tract," Biology of Reproduction 99(4), 789-797, (3 May 2018). https://doi.org/10.1093/biolre/ioy105
Received: 8 October 2017; Accepted: 1 May 2018; Published: 3 May 2018
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
fertilization
flagellum
male fertility
sperm
sperm motility and transport
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