Ca2+-stores in sperm: their identities and functions

S Costello, Francesco Michelangeli, K Nash, Linda Lefievre, J Morris, G Machado-Oliveira, Christopher Barratt, Jackson Kirkman-Brown, Stephen Publicover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Citations (Scopus)


Intracellular Ca2+ stores play a central role in the regulation of cellular [Ca2+](i) and the generation of complex [Ca2+] signals such as oscillations and waves. Ca2+ signalling is of particular significance in sperm cells, where it is a central regulator in many key activities (including capacitation, hyperactivation, chemotaxis and acrosome reaction) yet mature sperm lack endoplasmic reticulum and several other organelles that serve as Ca2+ stores in somatic cells. Here, we review i) the evidence for the expression in sperm of the molecular components (pumps and channels) which are functionally significant in the activity of Ca2+ stores of somatic cells and ii) the evidence for the existence of functional Ca2+ stores in sperm. This evidence supports the existence of at least two storage organelles in mammalian sperm, one in the acrosomal region and another in the region of the sperm neck and midpiece. We then go on to discuss the probable identity of these organelles and their discrete functions: regulation by the acrosome of its own secretion and regulation by membranous organelles at the sperm neck (and possibly by the mitochondria) of flagellar activity and hyperactivation. Finally, we consider the ability of the sperm discretely to control mobilisation of these stores and the functional interaction of stored Ca2+ at the sperm neck/midpiece with CatSper channels in the principal piece in regulation of the activities of mammalian sperm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-37
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009


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