In silico reconstruction of sperm chemotaxis

Masahiro Naruse, Midori Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In echinoderms, sperm swims in random circles and turns in response to a chemoattractant. The chemoattractant evokes transient Ca2+ influx in the sperm flagellum and induces turning behavior. Recently, the molecular mechanisms and biophysical properties of this sperm response have been clarified. Based on these experimental findings, in this study, we reconstructed a sperm model in silico to demonstrate an algorithm for sperm chemotaxis. We also focused on the importance of desensitizing the chemoattractant receptor in long-range chemotaxis because sperm approach distantly located eggs, and they must sense the chemoattractant concentration over a broad range. Using parameters of the sea urchin, simulations showed that a number of sperm could reach the egg from millimeter-order distances with desensitization, indicating that we could organize a functional sperm model, and that desensitization of the receptor is essential for sperm chemotaxis. Then, we compared the model with starfish sperm, which has a different desensitization scheme and analyzed the properties of the model against various disturbances. Our approach can be applied as a novel tool in chemotaxis research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9104
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 1


  • Desensitization
  • Fertilization
  • Modeling of cell
  • Sperm chemotaxis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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