As more and more couples seek help with fertility issues, scientists hope to find out factors that can increase fertility.In a study published in the journal PNAS, a team led by researchers at Osaka University described an exciting breakthrough that could help future fertility therapies.After all, sperm have only one job: fertilize the egg.To do this, however, they must first enter the fallopian tube, which requires the “tail” boost of sperm.As they approach their destination, sperm swim towards the eggs through the process of “capacitation”, in which the flow of calcium ions into the flagella triggers an increase in sperm motility.Although researchers have known that an electrical signal-sensing protein called VSP is expressed in the sperm of many animals, the actual physiological role of this protein is unknown.The study’s lead author Takafumi Kawai explained: “Determining the physiological role of VSP is our main goal. To this end, we constructed a VSP-deficient mouse strain so that we can examine VSP-deficient sperm in these animals.”The first thing to notice is that the ability of sperm lacking VSP to fertilize eggs in vitro is greatly reduced.Close inspection revealed that the sperm constantly swims around during the capacitation process and cannot move forward.This means fewer sperm actually reach their destination.Motility deficits indicate problems with flagella, which has prompted researchers to examine these structures in more detail.Dr. Kawai said: “Surprisingly, in normal sperm, lipid molecules called PIP2 are concentrated near the top of the flagella, closer to the head.” “In sperm lacking VSP, PIP2 is more in the flagellaRicher and more widely distributed. In addition, the concentration of calcium ions in sperm lacking VSP is higher. “These findings indicate that VSP plays a major role in ion channel regulation and ultimately affects sperm motility.Researchers believe that VSP is responsible for the polarization distribution of PIP2 in the flagella.Then, PIP2 activates potassium ion channels, which indirectly leads to local influx of calcium ions, thereby enhancing exercise capacity.In sperm lacking VSP, scattered PIP2 causes excessive influx of calcium ions, which reduces the flexibility of flagella and affects athletic ability.The above content is only authorized by 39Health.com for exclusive use, please do not reprint without authorization of the copyright party.