Editors' ChoiceReproductive Biology

A Sense of Direction

STKE  01 Apr 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 176, pp. tw131-TW131
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.176.tw131

Odorant receptors can be found outside of the olfactory system, including the mammalian testis. Spehr et al. (see the Perspective by Babcock) identified and characterized a previously unknown odorant receptor, hOR17, in human sperm. They identify ligands and antagonists for hOR17 that affect the swimming speed and direction of human sperm. Because chemotactic responsiveness and fertility may be related, this work may contribute to research to understand infertility and develop contraceptives.

M. Spehr, G. Gisselmann, A. Poplawski, J. A. Riffell, C. H. Wetzel, R. K. Zimmer, H. Hatt, Identification of a testicular odorant receptor mediating human sperm chemotaxis. Science 299, 2054-2058 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]

D. F. Babcock, Smelling the roses? Science 299, 1993-1994 (2003). [Summary] [Full Text]