Localization of sperm intracellular Ca2+ keeps fertilizability in the newt vas deferens

Reproduction. 2020 Mar;159(3):339-349. doi: 10.1530/REP-19-0252.


Sperm intracellular Ca2+ is crucial for the induction of sperm-egg interaction, but little is known about the significance of Ca2+ maintenance prior to induction. In sperm of the newt Cynops pyrrhogaster, intracellular Ca2+ is localized to the midpiece during storage in the vas deferens, while extracellular Ca2+ is influxed in modified Steinberg's salt solution to promote a spontaneous acrosome reaction related to the decline of sperm quality. In the present study, sperm from the vas deferens were loaded with the Ca2+ indicator Fluo8H, and changes in Ca2+ localization in modified Steinberg's salt solution were examined. Calcium ions expanded from the cytoplasmic area of the midpiece to the entire tail in most sperm during a 1-h incubation and localized to the principal piece in some sperm within 24 h. Similar changes in Ca2+ localization were observed in reconstructed vas deferens solution that included ions and pH at equivalent levels to those in the vas deferens fluid. Sperm with Ca2+ localization in the entire tail or the principal piece weakened or lost responsiveness to sperm motility-initiating substances, which trigger sperm motility for fertilization, but responded to a trigger for acrosome reaction. The change in Ca2+ localization was delayed and transiently reversed by ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid or a mixture of Ca2+ channel blockers including Ni2+ and diltiazem. These results suggest that C. pyrrhogaster sperm localize intracellular Ca2+ to the midpiece through Ca2+ transport in the vas deferens to allow for responses to sperm motility-initiating substances.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Salamandridae / metabolism*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*
  • Vas Deferens / physiology*


  • Calcium