Capacitation in Mammalian Sperm: A Review of Physiological Processes

Home Entering the Oviduct Role of Bicarbonate cAMP and PKA Signaling Phospholipid Scramblase

Cholesterol Efflux Lipid Rafts Protein Tyrosine Phosphorylation Decapacitation Factors
Hyperactivation Applications & Websites References Hot Topics

Sperm and Egg

Public domain image from: www.PDImages.com

Mammalian reproduction begins with the union of an egg and a sperm, as pictured at left. Despite movie portrayals, this union is a nuanced and complicated physiological process. Spermatozoa require a process called capacitation to become capable of fertilizing an ovum. Discovered simultaneous, separate experiments in 1951 by Austin and Chang, capacitation is defined as “the process by which spermatozoa in the ampullary portion of a uterine tube become capable of going through the acrosome reaction and fertilizing an oocyte.” Although discovered over 50 years ago, the detailed mechanisms of capacitation remain a hot topic in reproductive physiology.

The following visual model is based on review of peer-reviewed articles covering the topics of capacitation. Click on an image within the model to explore the details of that process. All images were created by Kate Stewart.

Sperm Entering Oviduct
Role of Bicarbonate
cAMP and PKA Signaling
Phospholipid Scramblase
Cholesterol Efflux
Lipid Rafts
Protein Tyrosine Phosphorylation
Decapacitating Factors
Hyperactivation
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This webpage was made as a part of student projects in Dr. Dorcas' Animal Physiology class at Davidson College.