Oocyte signals derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids control sperm recruitment in vivo

Academic Article


  • A fundamental question in animal development is how motile cells find their correct target destinations. During mating in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, males inject sperm through the hermaphrodite vulva into the uterus. Amoeboid sperm crawl around fertilized eggs to the spermatheca - a convoluted tube where fertilization occurs. Here, we show that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), the precursors of eicosanoid signalling molecules, function in oocytes to control directional sperm motility within the uterus. PUFAs are transported from the intestine, the site of fat metabolism, to the oocytes yolk, which is a lipoprotein complex. Loss of the RME-2 low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, which mediates yolk endocytosis and fatty acid transport into oocytes, causes severe defects in sperm targeting. We used an RNAi screen to identify lipid regulators required for directional sperm motility. Our results support the hypothesis that PUFAs function in oocytes as precursors of signals that control sperm recruitment to the spermatheca. A common property of PUFAs in mammals and C. elegans is that these fats control local recruitment of motile cells to their target tissues.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kubagawa HM; Watts JL; Corrigan C; Edmonds JW; Sztul E; Browse J; Miller MA
  • Start Page

  • 1143
  • End Page

  • 1148
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 10