Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)

The sperm mitochondria: clues and challenges

Diego Bucci; Marcella Spinaci; Ivan Cunha Bustamante-Filho; Salvatore Nesci

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Sperm cells rely on different substrates to fulfil thei energy demand for different functions and diverse moments of their life. Species specific mechanism involve both energy substrate transport and their utilization: hexose transporters, a protein family of facilitative passive transporters of glucose and other hexose, have been identified in spermatozoa of different species and, within the species, their localization has been identified and, in some cases, linked to specific glycilitic enzyme presence. The catabolism of hexose sources for energy purposes has been studied in various species, and recent advances has been made in the knowledge of metabolic strategies of sperm cells. In particular, the importance of aerobic metabolism has been defined and described in horse, boar and even mouse spermatozoa; bull sperm cells demonstrate to have a good adaptability and capacity to switch between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation; finally, dog sperm cells have been demonstrated to have a great plasticity in energy metabolism management, being also able to activate the anabolic pathway of glycogen syntesis.

In conclusion, the study of energy management and mitochondrial function in spermatozoa of different specie furnishes important base knowledge to define new media for preservation as well as newbases for reproductive biotechnologies.


sperm metabolism, bioenergetics, hexose uptake


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