Molecular characterization of voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv) and its importance in functional dynamics in bull spermatozoa

Theriogenology. 2018 Jul 1;114:229-236. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2018.03.030. Epub 2018 Mar 26.


Present study was undertaken to characterize the voltage gated potassium channel (Kv 1.1) in bull spermatozoa using sixty four ejaculates collected from four Hariana bulls. Functional characterization was undertaken using a selective blocker of Kv channel, 4-Aminopyridine (4-AP) while molecular presence of Kv on bull spermatozoa by immunoblotting and indirect immunofluorescence. Three sets of 100 μL diluted sperm samples namely-negative control (100 μL of sperm dilution medium (SDM) containing 10 × 106 cells), vehicle control (99 μL of SDM containing 10 × 106 cells, and DMSO- 1 μL) and 4-AP treatment group (99 μL of SDM containing 10 × 106 cells, and drug 1 μL 4-AP) were used in the study. Immunoblotting identified a single band of 56 kDa corresponding to Kv1.1 in Hariana bull spermatozoa. Immunolocalization showed the positive immunoreactivity at head, middle piece and principal piece of the spermatozoa for Kv 1.1. Blocking of Kv using 4-AP resulted in significant (p < 0.05) reduction in sperm progressive motility, per cent capacitated spermatozoa (B-pattern) and acrosome reacted (AR-pattern) spermatozoa, while significant (P < 0.05) increase in per cent swollen spermatozoa. Blocking of Kv channels resulted in significantly (P < 0.05) increased percentage of spermatozoa with lower mitochondrial transmembrane potential. Computer assisted semen analysis (CASA) of motion and kinematic parameters in 4-AP treated spermatozoa indicated reduction in sperm motion parameters like LIN, STR, VSL and VAP and higher ALH, VCL, and BCF indicating hyperactivity of spermatozoa. Based on our findings, it may be concluded that voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv) are present on bull spermatozoa and these are associated with functional dynamics of spermatozoa. However, based on our limited study, it is not possible to deduce that how these channels are associated with induction of hyperactivity. Therefore, further studies are warranted to unravel the mechanistic signaling pathways involved in Kv-mediated alterations in functional dynamics of spermatozoa.

Keywords: 4-AP; Bull; Capacitation; MTP; Sperm motility; Voltage gated potassium channel; Volume regulation.

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminopyridine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • 4-Aminopyridine