ProAKAP4 expression is a marker of the quality of spermatogenesis and how spermatozoa are mature and functional in ejaculates. ProAKAP4/AKAP4 are crucial for sperm flagellum formation and for sperm motility (Fang et al. 2019). Furthermore, the proAKAP4 concentrations (stock of full length AKAP4) was shown to be correlated with fertility rates in main mammals including human (Sergeant et al. 2019 ; Ruelle et al. 2019 ; Peddinti et al. 2008 ; Singh et al. 2019 ; Delehedde et al. 2019).
This marker has been then proposed to follow up fertility treatments, environmental stress or toxic compounds (Nixon, et al. 2019 ; Delehedde et al. 2019 ; Delehedde et al. 2020). Interestingly Han et al., 2020 have just released a paper that identified that AKAP4 is among the gene that are strongly impaired by the chronic arsenic exposure.
A chronic arsenic exposure significantly decreases both mRNA and proteins levels of Akap4 inducing consequently lower sperm motility and reducing male fertility essentially by disorganizing flagellum formation as observed at the ultrastructural levels. Defects or absence of proAKAP4/AKAP4 leads to immotile sperm and lack of any signal transduction system.
More details on Han et al. paper on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32460071/
The 4MID® Kits are today the only functional assays on the market that allow to quantify proAKAP4 concentrations directly in ejaculates or straws, assessing how spermatozoa will be functional and living in time. These 4MID® assays allow to follow up any toxicological insults or pharmacological compounds impacting male fertility, then bringing new insights and pertinent tools for male reproductive toxicity studies of other toxic environmental chemicals.
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