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- Open Access
Single cell neuro-sensory dynamics: Ca2+chemoreceptor-guided sea urchin sperm motility
© Kutz et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
Published: 8 July 2013
Neuro-sensory systems are critical for integrating environmental stimuli and providing a framework for resolving decision-making tasks. Remarkably, the molecular mechanisms mediating transduction of sensory information in neurons are also found in other cellular tissues, including sperm. One mechanism facilitating such behavior is a sperm's ability to perform chemotaxis to egg-derived compounds, a phenomenon in which sperm orient to an attractant gradient around an egg. The ensuing motility of the sperm cell is driven by attractants binding to olfactory G-coupled receptor proteins - located on the cell membrane surface - that elicits a signal transduction cascade similar to the one that occurs in the mammalian olfactory neurons located in the nasal epithelium. Receptor binding of the egg-derived compound elicits a cyclic-AMP transduction cascade that produces localized, cytosolic Ca2+ responses in the cell body. This response in turn controls flagellar beating via Ca2+ -sensitive axonemal motor proteins . Thus through a process of chemo-sensory integration, analogous to that which occurs in olfactory receptor neurons, the sperm cell is driven to interact with its fluid environment for the specific goal of fertilization.
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