Exploring the ovine sperm transcriptome by RNAseq techniques. I Effect of seasonal conditions on transcripts abundance
Understanding the cell molecular changes occurring as a results of climatic circumstances is crucial in the current days in which climate change and global warming are one of the most serious challenges that living organisms have to face. Sperm are one of the mammals’ cells most sensitive to heat, therefore evaluating the impact of seasonal changes in terms of its transcriptional activity can contribute to elucidate how these cells cope with heat stress events. We sequenced the total sperm RNA from 64 ejaculates, 28 collected in summer and 36 collected in autumn, from 40 Manchega rams. A highly rich transcriptome (11,896 different transcripts) with 90 protein coding genes that exceed an average number of 5000 counts were found. Comparing transcriptome in the summer and autumn ejaculates, 236 significant differential abundance genes were assessed, most of them (228) downregulated. The main functions that these genes are related to sexual reproduction and negative regulation of protein metabolic processes and kinase activity. Sperm response to heat stress supposes a drastic decrease of the transcriptional activity, and the upregulation of only a few genes related with the basic functions to maintain the organisms’ homeostasis and surviving. Rams’ spermatozoids carry remnant mRNAs which are retrospectively indicators of events occurring along the spermatogenesis process, including abiotic factors such as environmental temperature.