Spermatozoa Chemotaxis

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Embryology - 22 Apr 2024    Facebook link Pinterest link Twitter link  Expand to Translate  
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Sea Urchin Spermatozoa Chemotaxis

Modern version[1] of Lillie's historic 1902 sea urchin spermatozoa experiment.[2]

Chemotaxis is the attractive movement of an organism in response to a chemical stimulus, usually toward or "up" the chemical concentration gradient. Spermatozoa of other species respond to different chemical attractants. In human fertilization, this is probably progesterone released by glomerulosa cells surrounding and bound to the oocyte zona pellucida.

Kaubb's 2012 experiment[1] (on the left) shows the release of resact with a UV flash induces accumulation of sperm in the illuminated area while an annulus around the flash becomes depleted of sperm. After several seconds, the gradient dissipates because of resact binding and diffusion. (text from figure legend)

Resact - Causes stimulation of sperm respiration and motility through intracellular alkalinization, transient elevations of cAMP, cGMP and calcium levels in sperm cells, and transient activation and subsequent inactivation of the membrane form of guanylate cyclase.

Links: MP4 version | fertilization | spermatozoa | sea urchin | Movies


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kaupp UB. (2012). 100 years of sperm chemotaxis. J. Gen. Physiol. , 140, 583-6. PMID: 23183693 DOI.
  2. Lillie FR. (1912). THE PRODUCTION OF SPERM ISO-AGGLUTININS BY OVA. Science , 36, 527-30. PMID: 17735765 DOI.


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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 22) Embryology Spermatozoa Chemotaxis. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Spermatozoa_Chemotaxis

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G