Dialogue(s) for fertility: deciphering spermatozoa-oviduct interactions and their implications for artificial insemination in dairy cattle

Contact: PD Dr. Jennifer Schön

Duration: 2019-2022

Funding: Agence Nationale de la Recherche, AOBJ: 652886 / Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG SCHO 1231/7-1

Around the time of conception, time-specific hormonal changes occur in the oviduct, modulating sperm-maternal interactions, sperm survival and fertilization. Deciphering these hormonal driven interactions will be useful to improve artificial insemination outcome, one major stake in dairy industry. Thus, the objectives of the 3-year DIALOG project are to: 1) better characterize the oviductal secretome in vivo; 2) translate the in vivo oviductal milieu into a refined in vitro model to faithfully mimic the different phases of the estrous cycle; 3) use this model to decipher the regulation of the sperm-oviduct dialogue and the effects of these interactions on sperm physiology; 4) identify mechanisms of sperm-oviduct interactions and molecules that could be used to optimize inseminating conditions in cattle. The DIALOG project elucidates cellular and molecular mechanisms crucial for reproductive fitness in cattle, a farm animal of major economic relevance. It furthermore builds the basis for the development of new tools to optimize reproduction management and genetic breeding in this species.