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CCeMMP Seminar Series – A/Prof. Jianping Wu June 2022

Structural elucidation of CatSper by cryo-EM

The cation channel of sperm (CatSper) is essential for sperm motility and fertility. CatSper is exclusively expressed in testis and dysfunction of CatSper can lead to male infertility. It is therefore an ideal target for the treatment of male infertility and the development of novel non-hormonal contraceptives. CatSper is the most complicated ion channel known, and its structural study has been extremely challenging. I will discuss our recent progress in purifying the native CatSper from the sperm of transgenic knock-in mice. We further using cryo-EM to elucidate its high-resolution structure. Aside from the exciting unique assembly features of CatSper, the structure also reveals several previously uncharacterized components of CatSper, exemplified by an organic anion transporter SLCO6C1. CatSper thus is a channel–transporter ultracomplex that we termed the CatSpermasome. Our study showcases the power of structural biology in making new discoveries.

Assistant Professor Jianping Wu

School of Life Sciences Westlake University