A unique mechanism of successful fertilization in a domestic bird

Tomohiro Sasanami, Shunsuke Izumi, Naoki Sakurai, Toshifumi Hirata, Shusei Mizushima, Mei Matsuzaki, Gen Hiyama, Eriko Yorinaga, Takashi Yoshimura, Kazuyoshi Ukena, Kazuyoshi Tsutsui*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Fertilization is an indispensable step for formation of a zygote in sexual reproduction, leading to species survival. When mating occurs, sperm is transported to the female reproductive tracts via the seminal plasma (SP). SP is derived from male accessory sex glands and it plays pivotal roles for fertilization in animals. However, molecular mechanisms of SP or a fluid derived from male accessory sex glands for successful fertilization remain unclear. Here, we report that in male quail the cloacal gland (CG) produces prostaglandin F 2α (PGF 2α) that contributes to successful fertilization. PGF 2α, as well as the secretion of CG (CGS), induced vaginal contractions and caused the opening of the entrance of the sperm storage tubules, the structures responsible for the long-term sperm storage and fertilization. The removal of CGS from the male before mating reduced the fertility, but the supplementation of CGS or PGF 2α rescued the subfertility. We further showed that male CG contains glucose that is utilized as energy source for the intrinsic sperm mobility after transportation to female vagina. This mechanism, in concert with the excitatory effects of PGF 2α enables successful fertilization in the domestic bird.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7700
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 9

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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