1 × 10^3 Words: Capacitation

by Gabrielle DeMarco on June 5, 2009

M. Platt

M. Platt

When The Clovers crooned about “Love Potion Number 9″ back in 1959, they may have been closer to the mark than they knew. In the picture above, glowing in green is the protein Fatty Acid Binding Protein 9 found in human sperm. Modeled for the first time in the lab of Professor Mark Platt, this protein is activated after it enters the female reproductive tract in a process known as capacitation. Scientists have known since the time of The Clovers and tail fins on Cadillacs that capacitation is required for fertilization, but until now did not know the exact proteins that were involved in the process. Without the activation of Fatty Acid Binging Protein 9 and others that Platt has identified in the capacitation process, we might not be here at all.