The SLO3 sperm-specific potassium channel plays a vital role in male fertility

Celia M. Santi, Pablo Martínez-López, José Luis de la Vega-Beltrán, Alice Butler, Arturo Alisio, Alberto Darszon, Lawrence Salkoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

Here we show a unique example of male infertility conferred by a gene knockout of the sperm-specific, pH-dependent SLO3 potassium channel. In striking contrast to wild-type sperm which undergo membrane hyperpolarization during capacitation, we found that SLO3 mutant sperm undergo membrane depolarization. Several defects in SLO3 mutant sperm are evident under capacitating conditions, including impaired motility, a bent "hairpin" shape, and failure to undergo the acrosome reaction (AR). The failure of AR is rescued by valinomycin which hyperpolarizes mutant sperm. Thus SLO3 is the principal potassium channel responsible for capacitation-induced hyperpolarization, and membrane hyperpolarization is crucial to the AR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1046
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Volume584
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 5 2010

Keywords

  • Acrosome reaction
  • Capacitation
  • SLO3
  • Sperm

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