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Identification of distinct K+ channels in mouse spermatogenic cells and sperm

  • Ricardo Felix (a1), Carmen J. Serrano (a1), Claudio L. Treviño (a2), Carlos Muñoz-Garay (a2), Alejandra Bravo (a1), América Navarro (a3), Judith Pacheco (a4) (a5), Victor Tsutsumi (a4) and Alberto Darszon (a2)...


Potassium (K+) channels are believed to regulate mammalian sperm acquisition of fertilising capacity. However, the molecular identity of these proteins in sperm has not been elucidated. In this report, using immunoconfocal and electron microscopy we show that a minimum of four different classes of K+ channels (Kv1.1, Kv1.2, Kv3.1 and GIRK1) are present and regionally distributed over the surface of mouse epididymal sperm. In addition, the use of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction on RNA from mouse spermatogenic cells allowed the amplification of multiple transcripts corresponding to the channels identified by immunocytochemistry. Consistent with this, whole-cell patch-clamp recordings showed the expression of at least two different outwardly rectifying K+ currents in spermatogenic cells.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: Dr A. Darszon, Departamento de Genética y Fisiología Molecular, Instituto de Biotecnología UNAM, Avenida Universidad 2001, Col. Chamilpa, CP 62100, Cuernavaca, Mor., Mexico. Tel: +525 622 7611. Fax: +5273 17 23 88. e-mail:



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