The sperm calcium channel CatSper plays a central role in successful fertilization as a primary Ca2+ gateway. Here, we applied cryo-electron tomography to visualize the higher-order organization of the native CatSper complex in intact mammalian sperm. The repeating CatSper units form long zigzag-rows along mouse and human sperm flagella. Above each tetrameric channel pore, most of the extracellular domains form a canopy that interconnects to a zigzag-shaped roof. Murine CatSper contains an additional wing-structure connected to the tetrameric channel. The intracellular domains link two neighboring channels to a diagonal array, suggesting a dimer formation. Fitting of an atomic model of isolated monomeric CatSper to the in situ map reveals supramolecular interactions and assembly of the CatSper complex. Loss of EFCAB9-CATSPERζ alters the architecture and interactions of the channels, resulting in fragmentation and misalignment of the zigzag-rows and disruption of flagellar movement in Efcab9−/− sperm. This work offers unique insights into the structural basis for understanding CatSper regulation of sperm motility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)