Bicarbonate-Triggered In Vitro Capacitation of Boar Spermatozoa Conveys an Increased Relative Abundance of the Canonical Transient Receptor Potential Cation (TRPC) Channels 3, 4, 6 and 7 and of CatSper-γ Subunit mRNA Transcripts

Animals (Basel). 2022 Apr 13;12(8):1012. doi: 10.3390/ani12081012.


Sperm capacitation is a stepwise complex biochemical process towards fertilization. It includes a crucial early calcium (Ca2+) transport mediated by CatSper channels and Canonical Transient Potential Channels (TRPC). We studied the relative abundance of mRNA transcripts changes of the CatSper β, γ and δ subunits and TRPC-channels 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 in pig spermatozoa, after triggering in vitro capacitation by bicarbonate ions at levels present in vivo at the fertilization site. For this purpose, we analyzedfive5 ejaculate pools (from three fertile adult boars) before (control-fresh samples) and after in vitro exposure to capacitation conditions (37 mM NaHCO3, 2.25 mM CaCl2, 2 mM caffeine, 0.5% bovine serum albumin and 310 mM lactose) at 38 °C, 5% CO2 for 30 min. In vitro capacitation using bicarbonate elicits an increase in the relative abundance of mRNA transcripts of almost all studied Ca2+ channels, except CatSper-δ and TRPC1 (significantly reduced). These findings open new avenues of research to identify the specific role of each channel in boar sperm capacitation and elucidate the physiological meaning of the changes on sperm mRNA cargo.

Keywords: TRPC; calcium channels; capacitation; catSper subunits; pig.