The Journal of biological chemistry

Differences in ATP Generation Via Glycolysis and Oxidative Phosphorylation and Relationships with Sperm Motility in Mouse Species.

PMID 26048989


Mouse sperm produce enough ATP to sustain motility by anaerobic glycolysis and respiration. However, previous studies indicated that an active glycolytic pathway is required to achieve normal sperm function and identified glycolysis as the main source of ATP to fuel the motility of mouse sperm. All the available evidence has been gathered from the studies performed using the laboratory mouse. However, comparative studies of closely related mouse species have revealed a wide range of variation in sperm motility and ATP production and that the laboratory mouse has comparatively low values in these traits. In this study, we compared the relative reliance on the usage of glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation as ATP sources for sperm motility between mouse species that exhibit significantly different sperm performance parameters. We found that the sperm of species with higher oxygen consumption/lactate excretion rate ratios were able to produce higher amounts of ATP, achieving higher swimming velocities. Additionally, we show that the species with higher respiration/glycolysis ratios have a higher degree of dependence upon active oxidative phosphorylation. Moreover, we characterize for the first time two mouse species in which sperm depend on functional oxidative phosphorylation to achieve normal performance. Finally, we discuss that sexual selection could promote adaptations in sperm energetic metabolism tending to increase the usage of a more efficient pathway for the generation of ATP (and faster sperm).