During development sperm mature in the epididymis where they remain quiescent. However, upon release from the epididymis they must undergo marked changes to increase their motility and capacity to fertilize the egg.

These changes are labeled sperm capacitation and involve the acquisition of hyperactivated motility, and the ability to undergo the acrosome reaction which entails a voltage and calcium-dependent exocytotic event .

Ion channels in the sperm plasma membrane are essential molecules in the signaling processes that control sperm capacitation and have been the focus of Dr. Santi’s lab’s attention.