Caenorhabditis elegans PIEZO channel coordinates multiple reproductive tissues to govern ovulation

Xiaofei Bai, Jeff W Bouffard, Avery Lord, Katherine Brugman, Paul W Sternberg, Erin J Cram, Andy Golden
ELife 2020 June 3, 9
PIEZO1 and PIEZO2 are newly identified mechano-sensitive ion channels that exhibit a preference for calcium in response to mechanical stimuli. In this study, we discovered the vital roles of pezo-1 , the sole PIEZO ortholog in C. elegans, in regulating reproduction. A number of deletion alleles as well as a putative gain-of-function mutant of PEZO-1 caused a severe reduction in brood size. In vivo observations showed that oocytes undergo a variety of transit defects as they enter and exit the spermatheca during ovulation. Post ovulation oocytes were frequently damaged during spermathecal contraction. However, the calcium signaling was not dramatically changed in the pezo-1 mutants during ovulation. Loss of PEZO-1 also revealed an inability of self-sperm to properly navigate back to the spermatheca after being pushed out of the spermatheca during ovulation. These findings suggest that PEZO-1 acts in different reproductive tissues to promote proper ovulation and fertilization in C. elegans .

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