A Heterogeneous Mixture of F-Series Prostaglandins Promotes Sperm Guidance in the Caenorhabditis elegans Reproductive Tract

Academic Article


  • The mechanisms that guide motile sperm through the female reproductive tract to oocytes are not well understood. We have shown that Caenorhabditis elegans oocytes synthesize sperm guiding F-series prostaglandins from polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) precursors provided in yolk lipoprotein complexes. Here we use genetics and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry to partially delineate F-series prostaglandin metabolism pathways. We show that omega-6 and omega-3 PUFAs, including arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acids, are converted into more than 10 structurally related F-series prostaglandins, which function collectively and largely redundantly to promote sperm guidance. Disruption of omega-3 PUFA synthesis triggers compensatory up-regulation of prostaglandins derived from omega-6 PUFAs. C. elegans F-series prostaglandin synthesis involves biochemical mechanisms distinct from those in mammalian cyclooxygenase-dependent pathways, yet PGF2α stereoisomers are still synthesized. A comparison of F-series prostaglandins in C. elegans and mouse tissues reveals shared features. Finally, we show that a conserved cytochrome P450 enzyme, whose human homolog is implicated in Bietti's Crystalline Dystrophy, negatively regulates prostaglandin synthesis. These results support the model that multiple cyclooxygenase-independent prostaglandins function together to promote sperm motility important for fertilization. This cyclooxygenase-independent pathway for F-series synthesis may be conserved. © 2013 Hoang et al.
  • Published In

  • PLoS Genetics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hoang HD; Prasain JK; Dorand D; Miller MA
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1