Monitoring dimeric status of IZUMO1 during the acrosome reaction in living spermatozoon
The acrosome reaction (AR) is indispensable for successful spermatozoon-oocyte fusion. Recent studies have indicated that sperm IZUMO1 gradually gathers in the equatorial segment (EQ), which is the initiation site of sperm-egg fusion, after the AR. In addition, by examining the binding process of oocytes and Izumo1-expressing cultured cells to reconstitute the early steps of fertilization, we previously demonstrated that robust IZUMO1-dependent adhesion specifically occurs at the contact site along with the dimerization of IZUMO1. However, when IZUMO1 dimerizes after the AR in living spermatozoon is unknown. Here, we report dynamics of IZUMO1 dimerization during the AR in spermatozoa by combining transgenic mice and time-lapse imaging using a set of bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) probes. Surprisingly, dimeric IZUMO1 was already formed at the acrosomal cap region before the AR and redistributed into the EQ after the AR. We categorized the translocation of the dimer into two types: Type 1, the near-simultaneous appearance of BiFC signals with IZUMO1-mCherry; and Type 2, the delayed formation of dimer in the EQ. Those findings suggest that, before encountering oocytes, spermatozoa are prepared to boost their affinity with JUNO.