Submitted to: European Society of Domestic Animal Reproduction Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 8, 2003
Publication Date: September 8, 2003
Citation: Bakst, M.R., Zuelke, K.A. 2003. Oviductal sperm storage in birds. European Society of Domestic Animal Reproduction Conference.
The avian female possesses the capacity to store sperm for prolonged periods of time in a specific region of the oviduct. The sperm-storage tubules (SST) are tubular invaginations of the surface epithelium restricted to the uterovaginal junction (UVJ) region in the caudal aspect of the oviduct. After sperm transfer to the vagina by copulation or artificial insemination (AI) a select population of `fit¿ sperm ascends to the SST, enter, and reside in the SST for varying lengths of time. In the absence of an estrous cycle to synchronize ovulation with copulation, sperm exit the SST continuously to assure a population of sperm is present at the site of fertilization at the infundibulum. The molecular and cellular mechanisms surrounding sperm selection in the vagina, sperm entrance and survival within the SST and their egress from the SST are not well characterized. We are currently using a combination of SAGE analysis and immunocytochemisty to discover functional molecules and their potential roles in sperm transport in the vagina and sperm storage within the SST¿s. Some candidate proteins have been identified using SAGE in the UVJ-SST from inseminated and non-inseminated hens. We have also localized some aquaporins to the SST epithelia of chicken and turkey hens. It is with an increased understanding of the biology regulating oviducal sperm selection and storage, a broader foundation for improvements in poultry and captive bird breeding by AI and the preservation of their germplasm can be achieved.