Factors and pathways involved in capacitation: how are they regulated?

Shi-Kai Jin and Wan-Xi Yang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:3600-3627. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12274

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Shi-Kai Jin1 and Wan-Xi Yang1

1 The Sperm Laboratory, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

Correspondence to:

Wan-Xi Yang, email:

Keywords: capacitation, signaling pathway, calcium Ion, cAMP-PKA, protein phosphorylation

Received: August 05, 2016 Accepted: September 23, 2016 Published: September 27, 2016


In mammals, fertilization occurs via a comprehensive progression of events. Freshly ejaculated sperm have yet to acquire progressive motility or fertilization ability. They must first undergo a series of biochemical and physiological changes, collectively known as capacitation. Capacitation is a significant prerequisite to fertilization. During the process of capacitation, changes in membrane properties, intracellular ion concentration and the activities of enzymes, together with other protein modifications, induce multiple signaling events and pathways in defined media in vitro or in the female reproductive tract in vivo. These, in turn, stimulate the acrosome reaction and prepare spermatozoa for penetration of the egg zona pellucida prior to fertilization. In the present review, we conclude all mainstream factors and pathways regulate capacitation and highlight their crosstalk. We also summarize the relationship between capacitation and assisted reproductive technology or human disease. In the end, we sum up the open questions and future avenues in this field.

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