SLO3: A Conserved Regulator of Sperm Membrane Potential

Maximilian D. Lyon, Juan J. Ferreira, Ping Li, Shweta Bhagwat, Alice Butler, Kelsey Anderson, Maria Polo, Celia M. Santi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sperm cells must undergo a complex maturation process after ejaculation to be able to fertilize an egg. One component of this maturation is hyperpolarization of the membrane potential to a more negative value. The ion channel responsible for this hyperpolarization, SLO3, was first cloned in 1998, and since then much progress has been made to determine how the channel is regulated and how its function intertwines with various signaling pathways involved in sperm maturation. Although Slo3 was originally thought to be present only in the sperm of mammals, recent evidence suggests that a primordial form of the gene is more widely expressed in some fish species. Slo3, like many reproductive genes, is rapidly evolving with low conservation between closely related species and different regulatory and pharmacological profiles. Despite these differences, SLO3 appears to have a conserved role in regulating sperm membrane potential and driving large changes in response to stimuli. The effect of this hyperpolarization of the membrane potential may vary among mammalian species just as the regulation of the channel does. Recent discoveries have elucidated the role of SLO3 in these processes in human sperm and provided tools to target the channel to affect human fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11205
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • SLO channels
  • SLO3
  • acrosomal exocytosis
  • capacitation
  • contraception
  • hyperactivated motility
  • male fertility
  • membrane hyperpolarization
  • potassium channels
  • sperm


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