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Article

In Vitro Maturation of Cumulus–Oocyte Complexes and In Vitro Sperm Capacitation Significantly Increase the Expression and Enhance the Location of the CXCL12 and CXCR4 Anchoring Attractant Complex in Pigs

1
Department of Biomedical & Clinical Sciences (BKV), BKH/Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-58185 Linköping, Sweden
2
Department of Biomedical & Clinical Sciences (BKV), KOO/Surgery, Orthopedics and Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-58185 Linköping, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2021, 11(1), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010153
Received: 27 November 2020 / Revised: 22 December 2020 / Accepted: 7 January 2021 / Published: 11 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Mammalian Fertilization)
The process of mammalian fertilization is dependent on many mechanisms mediated by regulatory genes and proteins expressed in the gametes and/or the female genital tract. This study aimed to determine the expression and location of the cytokine complex CXCL12:CXCR4 in the porcine gametes: oocytes and spermatozoa. This complex is known to play a pivotal role for sperm attraction towards the oocyte prior to internal fertilization in several mammalian species. Gene and protein expressions were analyzed in female and male porcine gametes. The results showed that the CXCL12 gene expression was higher in mature cumulus cells, and CXCR4 was higher in capacitated spermatozoa, both being requisites for gametes to accomplish fertilization. Moreover, for the first time, the CXCL12 protein was located in the cytoplasm of cumulus cells from mature COCs, and the CXCR4 protein was expressed in the midpiece and principal piece of uncapacitated spermatozoa and also in the sperm head of capacitated spermatozoa. These findings increase our current knowledge on porcine physiology of fertilization and reproduction, leading to possible improvements in the performance of reproductive technologies.
Successful internal fertilization in mammals depends on several mechanisms, including those triggering the so-called “sperm attraction” towards the oocyte, which include some oocyte-derived sperm chemoattractants and interactive protein complexes, such as the cytokine C-X-C motif chemokine 12/C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCL12-CXCR4) receptor complex. The presence and precise localization of these crucial proteins was determined hereby, for the first time, in porcine cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) and spermatozoa. CXCL12 was overexpressed in the cumulus cells of in vitro matured, compared to immature COCs (p < 0.05), with its receptor (CXCR4) being up-regulated in capacitated spermatozoa (p < 0.03) compared to uncapacitated spermatozoa. The CXCR4 appeared specifically localized in the sperm tail of non-capacitated spermatozoa and also in the sperm head of capacitated spermatozoa, suggesting that the CXCL12-CXCR4 signaling complex would play a pivotal role in attracting capacitated spermatozoa towards the oocyte, facilitating fertilization in pigs. View Full-Text
Keywords: sperm chemoattractants; cytokine-receptor complexes; capacitation; COCs; fertilization; pig sperm chemoattractants; cytokine-receptor complexes; capacitation; COCs; fertilization; pig
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martinez, C.A.; Alvarez-Rodriguez, M.; Casado-Bedmar, M.; Rodriguez-Martinez, H. In Vitro Maturation of Cumulus–Oocyte Complexes and In Vitro Sperm Capacitation Significantly Increase the Expression and Enhance the Location of the CXCL12 and CXCR4 Anchoring Attractant Complex in Pigs. Animals 2021, 11, 153. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010153

AMA Style

Martinez CA, Alvarez-Rodriguez M, Casado-Bedmar M, Rodriguez-Martinez H. In Vitro Maturation of Cumulus–Oocyte Complexes and In Vitro Sperm Capacitation Significantly Increase the Expression and Enhance the Location of the CXCL12 and CXCR4 Anchoring Attractant Complex in Pigs. Animals. 2021; 11(1):153. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010153

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martinez, Cristina A., Manuel Alvarez-Rodriguez, Maite Casado-Bedmar, and Heriberto Rodriguez-Martinez. 2021. "In Vitro Maturation of Cumulus–Oocyte Complexes and In Vitro Sperm Capacitation Significantly Increase the Expression and Enhance the Location of the CXCL12 and CXCR4 Anchoring Attractant Complex in Pigs" Animals 11, no. 1: 153. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010153

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