Sperm Sensory Signaling. Academic Article uri icon


  • Fertilization is exceptionally complex and, depending on the species, happens in entirely different environments. External fertilizers in aquatic habitats, like marine invertebrates or fish, release their gametes into the seawater or freshwater, whereas sperm from most internal fertilizers like mammals cross the female genital tract to make their way to the egg. Various chemical and physical cues guide sperm to the egg. Quite generally, these cues enable signaling pathways that ultimately evoke a cellular Ca2+ response that modulates the waveform of the flagellar beat and, hence, the swimming path. To cope with the panoply of challenges to reach and fertilize the egg, sperm from different species have developed their own unique repertoire of signaling molecules and mechanisms. Here, we review the differences and commonalities for sperm sensory signaling in marine invertebrates (sea urchin), fish (zebrafish), and mammals (mouse, human).

publication date

  • July 5, 2017