Mammalian sperm must undergo a series of physiological changes after leaving the testis to become competent for fertilization. These changes, collectively known as capacitation, occur in the female reproductive tract where the sperm plasma membrane is modified in terms of its components and ionic permeability. Among other events, mouse sperm capacitation leads to an increase in the intracellular Ca2+ and pH as well as to a hyperpolarization of the membrane potential. It is well known that ion channels play a crucial role in these events, though the molecular identity of the particular channels involved in capacitation is poorly defined. In the present work, we report the identification and potential functional role of KATP channels in mouse spermatogenic cells and sperm. By using whole-cell patch clamp recordings in mouse spermatogenic cells, we found K+ inwardly rectifying (K ir) currents that are sensitive to Ba2+, glucose and the sulfonylureas (tolbutamide and glibenclamide) that block KATP channels. The presence of these channels was confirmed using inhibitors of the ATP synthesis and KATP channel activators. Furthermore, RT-PCR assays allowed us to detect transcripts for the KATP subunits SUR1, SUR2, Kir6.1 and Kir6.2 in total RNA from elongated spermatids. In addition, immunoconfocal microscopy revealed the presence of these K ATP subunits in mouse spermatogenic cells and sperm. Notably, incubation of sperm with tolbutamide during capacitation abolished hyperpolarization and significantly decreased the percentage of AR in a dose-dependent fashion. Together, our results provide evidence for the presence of KATP channels in mouse spermatogenic cells and sperm and disclose the contribution of these channels to the capacitation-associated hyperpolarization. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Acevedo, J. J., Mendoza-Lujambio, I., De La Vega-Beltrán, J. L., Treviño, C. L., Felix, R., & Darszon, A. (2006). KATP channels in mouse spermatogenic cells and sperm, and their role in capacitation. Developmental Biology, 289(2), 395–405. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.11.002