Sperm epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mediates α7 acetylcholine receptor (AChR) activation to promote fertilization

Yael Jaldety, Yair Glick, Avi Orr-Urtreger, Debby Ickowicz, Doron Gerber, Haim Breitbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To attain fertilization the spermatozoon binds to the egg zona pellucida (ZP) via sperm receptor(s) and undergoes an acrosome reaction (AR). Several sperm receptors have been described in the literature; however, the identity of this receptor is not yet certain. In this study, we suggest that the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) might be a sperm receptor activated by ZP to induce epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mediated AR. We found that isolated ZP or α7 agonists induced the AR in sperm from WT but not α7-null spermatozoa, and the induced AR was inhibited by α7 or EGFR antagonists. Moreover, α7-null sperm showed very little binding to the egg, and microfluidic affinity in vitro assay clearly showed that α7nAChR, as well as EGFR, interacted with ZP3. Induction of EGFR activation and the AR by an α7 agonist was inhibited by a Src family kinase (SFK) inhibitor. In conclusion we suggest that activation of α7 by ZP leads to SFK-dependent EGFR activation, Ca2+ influx, and the acrosome reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22328-22340
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume287
Issue number26
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2012

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