Phosphoproteomic and functional analyses reveal sperm-specific protein changes downstream of kappa opioid receptor in human spermatozoa

Itziar Urizar-Arenaza, Nerea Osinalde, Vyacheslav Akimov, Michele Puglia, Luz Candenas, Franscisco Maria Pinto, Iraia Muñoa-Hoyos, Marta Gianzo, Roberto Matorras, Jon Irazusta, Blagoy Blagoev, Nerea Subiran, Irina Kratchmarova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to the seven transmembrane receptor superfamily that transduce signals via G proteins in response to external stimuli to initiate different intracellular signaling pathways which culminate in specific cellular responses. The expression of diverse GPCRs at the plasma membrane of human spermatozoa suggests their involvement in the regulation of sperm fertility. However, the signaling events downstream of many GPCRs in spermatozoa remain uncharacterized. Here, we selected the kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) as a study model and applied phosphoproteomic approach based on TMT labeling and LC-MS/MS analyses. Quantitative coverage of more than 5000 proteins with over 3500 phosphorylation sites revealed changes in the phosphorylation levels of sperm-specific proteins involved in the regulation of the sperm fertility in response to a specific agonist of KOR, U50488H. Further functional studies indicate that KOR could be involved in the regulation of sperm fertile capacity by modulation of calcium channels. Our findings suggest that human spermatozoa possess unique features in the molecular mechanisms downstream of GPCRs which could be key regulators of sperm fertility and improved knowledge of these specific processes may contribute to the development of useful biochemical tools for diagnosis and treatment of male infertility.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue numberSuppl 1
Pages (from-to)S118-S131
Publication statusPublished - 15. Mar 2019


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