Reproductive Biology of Evolution

Developmental Molecular Biology
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC

Genotype-phenotype associations in the formation of sperm cells.

The reproductive success of males is ultimately related to the fertility of their spermatozoa. There is an intense selective pressure acting on the evolution of gene sequences and regulatory mechanisms linked to sperm formation, as well as on sperm traits such as those related to form and function, which could explain the enourmous diversity in sperm shape and performance in the animal kingdom. The characterization of diversity in form and function of spermatozoa, and the underlying selective forces are currently one of the most important areas in evolutionary biology and in the molecular and cellular biology of reproduction. Much emphasis has been placed in the past on how slective pressures (e.g., sperm competition and cryptic female choice) may influence evolution of spermatozoa. However, there have been few advances in studies of evolution of genes controlling spermatogenesis or the morphological and functional evolution of sperm cells. This seriously limits our research on patterns of sperm evolution and on causes of evolution at different levels. This TFM may address one of the following aspects related to the diversity of spermatozoa, namely (a) characterization of evolution of genes involved in the formation of the sperm cell and their regulation, (b) analysis of patterns of form and size in different taxa, and (c) studies of sperm function linked to bioenergetic metabolism determining velocity and trajectory of sperm swimming. We will use rodents as models because they are the group of mammals with the most diverse sperm types. A global analysis of genotype and phenotype of spermatozoa will allow us to advance in studies of sperm functional morphology and, thus, establish the bases for future research on selective forces or developmental constraints that may be important for the evolution of the male gamete.

Recent publications

Tourmente M, Hirose M, Ibrahim S, Dowling DK, Tompkins DM, Roldan ERS, Gemmell NJ (2017) mtDNA polymorphism and metabolic inhibition affect sperm performance in conplastic mice. Reproduction 154:341-354.

Vicens A, Borziak K, Karr TL, Roldan ERS, Dorus S (2017) Comparative sperm proteomics in mouse species with divergent mating systems. Mol Biol Evol 34:1403-1416.

Varea-Sánchez M, Tourmente M, Bastir M, Roldan ERS (2016) Unraveling the sperm bauplan: Relationships between sperm head morphology and sperm function in rodents. Biol Reprod 95:25.

Lüke L, Tourmente M, Dopazo H, Serra F, Roldan ERS (2016) Selective constraints on protamine 2 in primates and rodents. BMC Evol Biol 16:21.

Lüke L, Tourmente M, Roldan ERS (2016) Sexual selection of protamine 1 in mammals. Mol Biol Evol 33:174-84.

Tourmente M, Villar-Moya P, Rial E, Roldan ERS (2015) Differences in ATP generation via glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation and relationships with sperm motility in mouse species. J Biol Chem 290:20613-26.

Vicens A, Gómez Montoto L, Couso-Ferrer F, Sutton KA, Roldan ERS (2015) Sexual selection and the adaptive evolution of PKDREJ protein in primates and rodents. Mol Hum Reprod 21:146-56.

Vicens A, Tourmente M, Roldan ERS (2014) Structural evolution of CatSper1 in rodents is influenced by sperm competition, with effects on sperm swimming velocity. BMC Evol Biol.14:106.

Lüke L, Campbell P, Varea Sánchez M, Nachman MW, Roldan ERS (2014). Sexual selection on protamine and transition nuclear protein expression in mouse species. Proc R Soc B 281:20133359.

Vicens A, Lüke L, Roldan ERS (2014) Proteins involved in motility and sperm-egg interaction evolve more rapidly in mouse spermatozoa. PLoS One 9:e91302.

Lüke L, Vicens A, Tourmente M, Roldan ERS (2014) Evolution of protamine genes and changes in sperm head phenotype in rodents. Biol Reprod 90:67.

Biomolecules & Cell D.
Molecular Biomedicine
Eduardo Roldan Schuth