: The ability of spermatozoa to swim towards an oocyte and fertilize it depends on precise K+ permeability changes. Kir5.1 is an inwardly-rectifying potassium (Kir) channel with high sensitivity to intracellular H+ (pHi) and extracellular K+ concentration [K+]o, and hence provides a link between pHi and [K+]o changes and membrane potential. The intrinsic pHi sensitivity of Kir5.1 suggests a possible role for this channel in the pHi-dependent processes that take place during fertilization. However, despite the localization of Kir5.1 in murine spermatozoa, and its increased expression with age and sexual maturity, the role of the channel in sperm morphology, maturity, motility, and fertility is unknown. Here, we confirmed the presence of Kir5.1 in spermatozoa and showed strong expression of Kir4.1 channels in smooth muscle and epithelial cells lining the epididymal ducts. In contrast, Kir4.2 expression was not detected in testes. To examine the possible role of Kir5.1 in sperm physiology, we bred mice with a deletion of the Kcnj16 (Kir5.1) gene and observed that 20% of Kir5.1 knock-out male mice were infertile. Furthermore, 50% of knock-out mice older than 3 months were unable to breed. By contrast, 100% of wild-type (WT) mice were fertile. The genetic inactivation of Kcnj16 also resulted in smaller testes and a greater percentage of sperm with folded flagellum compared to WT littermates. Nevertheless, the abnormal sperm from mutant animals displayed increased progressive motility. Thus, ablation of the Kcnj16 gene identifies Kir5.1 channel as an important element contributing to testis development, sperm flagellar morphology, motility, and fertility. These findings are potentially relevant to the understanding of the complex pHi- and [K+]o-dependent interplay between different sperm ion channels, and provide insight into their role in fertilization and infertility.

Kcnj16 (Kir5.1) Gene Ablation Causes Subfertility and Increases the Prevalence of Morphologically Abnormal Spermatozoa

D'Adamo, Maria Cristina
2021

Abstract

: The ability of spermatozoa to swim towards an oocyte and fertilize it depends on precise K+ permeability changes. Kir5.1 is an inwardly-rectifying potassium (Kir) channel with high sensitivity to intracellular H+ (pHi) and extracellular K+ concentration [K+]o, and hence provides a link between pHi and [K+]o changes and membrane potential. The intrinsic pHi sensitivity of Kir5.1 suggests a possible role for this channel in the pHi-dependent processes that take place during fertilization. However, despite the localization of Kir5.1 in murine spermatozoa, and its increased expression with age and sexual maturity, the role of the channel in sperm morphology, maturity, motility, and fertility is unknown. Here, we confirmed the presence of Kir5.1 in spermatozoa and showed strong expression of Kir4.1 channels in smooth muscle and epithelial cells lining the epididymal ducts. In contrast, Kir4.2 expression was not detected in testes. To examine the possible role of Kir5.1 in sperm physiology, we bred mice with a deletion of the Kcnj16 (Kir5.1) gene and observed that 20% of Kir5.1 knock-out male mice were infertile. Furthermore, 50% of knock-out mice older than 3 months were unable to breed. By contrast, 100% of wild-type (WT) mice were fertile. The genetic inactivation of Kcnj16 also resulted in smaller testes and a greater percentage of sperm with folded flagellum compared to WT littermates. Nevertheless, the abnormal sperm from mutant animals displayed increased progressive motility. Thus, ablation of the Kcnj16 gene identifies Kir5.1 channel as an important element contributing to testis development, sperm flagellar morphology, motility, and fertility. These findings are potentially relevant to the understanding of the complex pHi- and [K+]o-dependent interplay between different sperm ion channels, and provide insight into their role in fertilization and infertility.
KCNJ10
KCNJ15
KCNJ16
Kir4.1
Kir4.2
Kir5.1
epididymis
flagellar morphology
male fertility
potassium channel
sperm motility
spermatozoa
testis
Animals
Fertility
Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
Infertility, Male
Male
Membrane Potentials
Mice
Mice, Knockout
Muscle, Smooth
Oocytes
Potassium
Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying
Sperm Motility
Spermatozoa
Testis
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12572/8211
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
social impact