Modulation of Sperm Motility and Function Prior to Fertilization

  • Manabu YoshidaEmail author
  • Kaoru Yoshida
Part of the Diversity and Commonality in Animals book series (DCA)


Spermatozoa are generated in the testis but have neither motility nor fertility. They gain these abilities while approaching eggs. During this process, spermatozoa control their motility, swimming direction, and structure to approach their final destination. Previously, these modulations of sperm motility and function in the fertilization process have been investigated mainly in marine animals with external fertilization. Recently, intensive work on mammalian fertilization has partly revealed the molecular mechanisms of sperm events. In this chapter, we first introduce features of sperm events in the process of fertilization, including initiation and activation of flagellar motility, chemotaxis, capacitation, hyperactivation, and the acrosome reaction. We then discuss the molecular mechanisms of these sperm events, specifically focusing on the main characters: Ca2+, cyclic nucleotides, phosphorylation, membrane potential, pH, and lipid components.


Sperm motility Capacitation Acrosome reaction Calcium cAMP pH Cholesterol 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Masaaki Morisawa for providing unpublished data and for helpful discussion.

Supplementary material

Movie 21.1

Motility initiation of flatfish (Pleuronectes yokohamae) sperm. The spermatozoa are suspended in an isotonic medium and stimulated by seawater (MOV 1397 kb)


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© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Misaki Marine Biological Station, School of ScienceUniversity of TokyoMiuraJapan
  2. 2.Biomedical Engineering CenterToin University of YokohamaYokohamaJapan

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