A recent study by scientists from University of California, San Francisco, have identified a mechanism that prompts sperm to start swimming toward an egg. Appropriately targeted, this mechanism could assist in developing new methods of male contraception.
So, basically, sperm are basically balloons of protons. Once they hit the female reproductive tract, these protons are released, which kicks off the sperms’ race to the egg.
“The concentration of protons inside the [sperm] cell is 1,000 times higher than outside,” said lead researcher, Yuriy Kirichok. “If you just open a pore, protons will go outside. We identify the molecule that lets them out.”
This molecule is Hv1 protein. By identifying it, we may be able to modify the activity of sperm in either direction, meaning: make it not go to the egg. Score!
“You can imagine now that we know the molecule responsible we could block it to prevent activation and fertilization as a kind of male contraception,” Kirichok said.
The study appears in the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication.
Information from the Times of India.