A C. elegans sperm TRP protein required for sperm-egg interactions during fertilization

Cell. 2003 Aug 8;114(3):285-97. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00565-8.


Fertilization, a critical step in animal reproduction, is triggered by a series of specialized sperm-egg interactions. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying fertilization are not well understood. Here, we identify a sperm-enriched C. elegans TRPC homolog, TRP-3. Mutations in trp-3 lead to sterility in both hermaphrodites and males due to a defect in their sperm. trp-3 mutant sperm are motile, but fail to fertilize oocytes after gamete contact. TRP-3 is initially localized in intracellular vesicles, and then translocates to the plasma membrane during sperm activation. This translocation coincides with a marked increase in store-operated calcium entry, providing an in vivo mechanism for the regulation of TRP-3 activity. As C. elegans oocytes lack egg coats, our data suggest that some TRPC family channels might function to mediate calcium influx during sperm-egg plasma membrane interactions leading to fertilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / chemistry
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels / chemistry
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Disorders of Sex Development
  • Female
  • Fertilization / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infertility
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sperm-Ovum Interactions / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Calcium Channels
  • spe-41 protein, C elegans
  • Calcium

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY342006