Ca2+-stores in sperm: their identities and functions

Sarah Costello, Francesco Michelangeli, Katherine Nash, Linda Lefievre, Jennifer Morris, Gisela Machado-Oliveira, Christopher Barratt, Jackson Kirkman-Brown, Stephen Publicover

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    163 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. Reproduction (2009) 138 425-437

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)425-437
    Number of pages13
    Early online date19 Jun 2009
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


    • Inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate receptor
    • Sea urchin sperm
    • Secretory pathway CA2+ atpase
    • Intracellular calcium store
    • NAADP mobilizes CA2+
    • Human spermatozoa
    • Acrosome reaction
    • Mouse sperm
    • Endoplasmic reticulum
    • Mammalian sperm


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