Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sperm gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor delta subunit (GABRD) and its interaction with purinergic P2X2 receptors in progesterone-induced acrosome reaction and male fertility

Wenming Xu A B E * , Ke Wang A * , Yan Chen A , Xiao Tong Liang A , Mei Kuen Yu C , Huanxun Yue B and M. Louise Tierney D E

A Joint Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Related Diseases of Women and Children, Ministry of Education, (Sichuan University), West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Renmin Lanlu, 3 duan, No.17, Chengdu, 610041, PR China.

B Andrology clinic, Department of Obstetric and Gynecologic Diseases, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, PR China.

C Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

D Membrane Physiology and Ion Channel Signalling Group, Division of Translational Bioscience, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Building 54, Ward and Garran Roads, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

E Corresponding authors. Emails: xuwenming@scu.edu.cn; louise.tierney@anu.edu.au

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD16294
Submitted: 29 July 2016  Accepted: 22 December 2016   Published online: 13 February 2017

Abstract

The mechanism underlying the non-genomic action of progesterone in sperm functions and related Ca2+ mobilisation remains elusive. Herein we report the expression of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor delta subunit (GABRD) in human and rodent sperm and its involvement in mediating the progesterone-induced acrosome reaction. GABRD was localised in the sperm head/neck region. A δ(392–422)-specific inhibitory peptide against GABRD blocked the progesterone-induced acrosome reaction and the associated increase in intracellular Ca2+. Similarly, an inhibitory effect against both progesterone-induced Ca2+ influx and the acrosome reaction was observed with a P2X2 receptor antagonist. The lack of synergism between the GABRD and P2X2 inhibitors suggests that these two receptors are playing a role in the same pathway. Furthermore, a co-immunoprecipitation experiment demonstrated that GABRD could undergo protein–protein interactions with the Ca2+-conducting P2X2 receptor. This interaction between the receptors could be reduced following progesterone (10 μM) inducement. Significantly reduced GABRD expression was observed in spermatozoa from infertile patients with reduced acrosome reaction capacity, suggesting that normal expression of GABRD is critical for the sperm acrosome reaction and thus male fertility. The results of the present study indicate that GABRD represents a novel progesterone receptor or modulator in spermatozoa that is responsible for the progesterone-induced Ca2+ influx required for the acrosome reaction through its interaction with the P2X2 receptor.

Additional keywords: Ca2+ mobilisation


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