Scientists find new mechanisms in masculine fertility

A recent study conducted by CONICET scientists shows a mechanism of cell signaling of sperm unknown until now and with possible implementation in reproductive health clinic.

Dr. Darío Krapf. Phot: Courtesy IBR (CONICET-UNR)

The study was entirely conducted by CONICET researchers and was published in Scientific Reports. It is about the detailed description of a mechanism by which the sperm of mammals acquire fertile capacity, which they lack at the time of ejaculation.

Mammalian sperms are not fertilizing at the time of ejaculation. In order to fertilize an egg, those sperm trigger a series of molecular events influenced by the environment of the female reproductive tract”, explains Darío Krapf. He is a CONICET associate researcher and director of the Laboratorio de Cascadas de Señalización Celular of the Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Rosario (IBR, CONICET-UNR).

“Without the machinery to synthesize new proteins, the sperm resorts to the modification of existing proteins to regulate their activity. For more than 20 years, this field of study revolved around the protein phosphorylation-dependent modifications. Our work shows that apart from this, protein acetylation plays an important role in sperm physiology”, the scientist adds.

This study will serve as a starting point for the research on a new area in reproductive physiology, with direct application in the improvement of sperm samples for reproductive therapies.

The first author of this study, Carla Ritagliati, is a CONICET postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratorio de Cascadas de Señalización Celular of IBR. Other researchers who participated in the research were: doctoral fellows Carolina Baró Graf and Cintia Stival of the same laboratory; Guillermina Luque, assistant researcher, and Mariano Buffone, independent researcher at the Instituo de de Biología y Medicina Experimental (IBYME, CONICET-FIBYME).

About the study

Carla Ritagliati, Postdoctoral fellowl, IBR.

Guillermina M. Luque, assistant researcher, IBYME.

Cintia Stival, doctoral fellow, IBR.

Carolina Baró Graf, doctoral fellow, IBR.

Mariano G. Buffone, independent researcher, IBYME

Dario Krapf, associate researcher, IBR.