Developmental Cell, 28 May, 2021, DOI:
Membrane contact site-dependent cholesterol transport regulates Na+/K+-ATPase polarization and spermiogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans
Qiushi Wang, Zheng Cao, Baochen Du, Qi Zhang, Lianwan Chen, Xia Wang, Zhiheng Yuan, Peng Wang, Ruijun He, Jin Shan, Yanmei Zhao, Long Miao
Spermiogenesis in nematodes is a process whereby round and quiescent spermatids differentiate into asymmetric and crawling spermatozoa. The molecular mechanism underlying this symmetry breaking remains uncharacterized. In this study, we revealed that sperm-specific Na+/K+-ATPase (NKA) is evenly distributed on the plasma membrane (PM) of Caenorhabditis elegans spermatids but is translocated to and subsequently enters the invaginated membrane of the spermatozoa cell body during sperm activation. The polarization of NKA depends on the transport of cholesterol from the PM to membranous organelles (MOs) via membrane contact sites (MCSs). The inositol 5-phosphatase CIL-1 and the MO-localized PI4P phosphatase SAC-1 may mediate PI4P metabolism to drive cholesterol countertransport via sterol/lipid transport proteins through MCSs. Furthermore, the NKA function is required for C. elegans sperm motility and reproductive success. Our data imply that the lipid dynamics mediated by MCSs might play crucial roles in the establishment of cell polarity.