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When a spermatozoon shows chemotactic behavior, transient [Ca2+]i increases in the spermatozoon are induced by an attractant gradient. The [Ca2+]i increase triggers a series of stereotypic responses of flagellar waveforms that comprise turning and straight-swimming. However, the molecular mechanism of [Ca2+]i modulation controlled by the attractants is not well defined. Here, we examined receptive mechanisms for the sperm attractant, SAAF, in the ascidian, Ciona intestinalis, and identified a plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase (PMCA) as a SAAF-binding protein. PMCA is localized in sperm flagella membranes and seems to interact with SAAF through basic amino acids located in the second and third extracellular loops. ATPase activity of PMCA was enhanced by SAAF, and PMCA inhibitors, 5(6)-Carboxyeosin diacetate and Caloxin 2A1, inhibited chemotactic behavior of the sperm. Furthermore, Caloxin 2A1 seemed to inhibit efflux of [Ca2+]i in the sperm, and SAAF seemed to competitively reduce the effect of Caloxin 2A1. On the other hand, chemotactic behavior of the sperm was disordered not only at low-Ca2+, but also at high-Ca2+ conditions. Thus, PMCA is a potent candidate for the SAAF receptor, and direct control of Ca2+ efflux via PMCA is a fundamental mechanism to mediate chemotactic behavior in the ascidian spermatozoa.


  • Scientific Reports

    Scientific Reports (8), 16622, 2018-11



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