Mammalian spermatozoa reach the ability to fertilize only after they complete a complex series of physicalchemical modification, the capacitation. Recently, the endocannabinoid-binding type-1cannabinoid receptor (CB1) and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel have been proposed to play a key role in the control of capacitation. In particular CB1, acting via a Gi protein/cAMP/PKA pathway, maintains low cAMP levels in early stages of post ejaculatory life of male gametes. By this way it promotes the maintenance of membrane stability, thus avoiding the premature fusion of plasma membrane (PM) and outer acrosome membrane (OAM), which is mandatory for the exocytosis of acrosome content. TRPV1, on the contrary, becomes active during the latest stages of capacitation, and allows the rapid increase in intracellular calcium concentration that leads to the removal of the F-actin network interposed between PM and OAM, leading to their fusion and, ultimately, to the acrosome reaction.
- Endocannabinoid system
- Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1)
- Type-1cannabinoid receptor (CB)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)