YourChoice Therapeutics was one of the 2018 CITRIS Foundry Startups. One of their technologies is a “molecular condom” concept where an active compound inhibits sperm motility preventing it from fertilizing the egg.The molecular target on the sperm is CatSper, a sperm-specific calcium ion channel that initiates a motility pattern called hyperactivation needed for fertilization. The research group discovered that the extracellular protein, ABHD2 that regulates CatSper activity can be bound by the plant-derived compound lupeol. This prevents the sperm from transitioning to hyperactivation and the affected sperm are incapable of fertilizing an egg.
Regulation of the sperm calcium channel CatSper by endogenous steroids and plant triterpenoids
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