Female-induced selective modification of sperm protein SUMOylation-potential mechanistic insights into the non-random fertilization in humans.
ABSTRACT: In many species, mate choice continues after the mating via female- or egg-derived biochemical factors that induce selective changes in sperm pre-fertilization physiology and behaviour. Recent studies have indicated that gamete-mediated mate choice likely occurs also in humans, but the mechanistic basis of the process has remained virtually unexplored. Here, we investigated whether female-induced modifications in sperm protein SUMOylation (post-translational modification of the proteome) could serve as a novel mechanism for gamete-mediated mate choice in humans. We treated the sperm of ten males with the oocyte-surrounding bioactive liquid (follicular fluid) of five females and investigated motility, viability and global protein SUMOylation status of the sperm in all (n = 50) of these male-female combinations (full-factorial design). All the measured sperm traits were affected by male-female combinations, and sperm protein SUMOylation status was also negatively associated with sperm motility. Furthermore, our results indicate that female-induced sperm protein SUMOylation is selective, potentially allowing females to increase sperm motility in some males, whereas decreasing it in the others. Consequently, our findings suggest that follicular fluid may non-randomly modify the structure and function of sperm proteome and in this way facilitate gamete-mediated mate choice in humans and possibly many other species. However, due to the relatively low number of female subjects and their potential infertility problems, our results should be replicated with larger subset of fully fertile women.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC9305144 | BioStudies |