Reproductive Biology

Reproductive Biology

RNDr. Kateřina Hortová, Ph.D.

RNDr. Kateřina Hortová, Ph.D. — Project head

About us

The Group of Reproductive biology focuses on characterization of processes and molecular factors involved in sperm maturation prior to fertilization (capacitation, acrosome reaction and seminal fluid composition), sperm-egg interaction, specification of anti-sperm antibodies, as well as on developing tools for detection of male infertility.

The group is also involved in characterization of reproductive parameters modified due to Diabetes mellitus and selected environmental factors with a negative effect on reproduction. This research area includes identification of epigenetic mechanisms participating in gametogenesis connected to gene expression. The goal of the group is to understand in detail to localization and behaviour of selected protein prior and during the gamete fusion. The complex approach should help with a detection of pathologies and consequentially lead to prevention, diagnostics and selection of the most appropriate infertility treatment.

The group has been focusing on studying of the molecular mechanism of fertilization since 1990. We have investigated the role of cell surface and acrosomal proteins of mammalian spermatozoa during capacitation, acrosome reaction and binding of the sperm to the glycoprotein network of zona pellucida. Other studied aspects included a unique regulation of protein tyrosine phosphorylation of mammalian sperm proteins during capacitation, identification and localization of these proteins and activators in mammalian spermatozoa and their connection with the cytoskeleton, and motility of sperm.

Recently there has been ongoing a detailed characterization of dynamic rearrangement of cytoskeletal proteins and proteins (IZUMO1, CD46, CD9 CD81 and Integrins) involved in sperm-egg fusion. The outcome of this research will be translated into new diagnostic tools for identification of sperm parameters and selection of good and bad sperm to be used in Centres of Assisted Reproduction.





1. Characterization of CD46 and β1 integrin dynamics during sperm acrosome reaction.

Proteins CD46 and β1 integrin undergo synchronic dynamic relocation towards the sites of sperm-egg fusion during the acrosome reaction as shown by Super-resolution microscopy. Their interaction was confirmed by proximity ligation assay and their association with actin cytoskeleton was suggested. This protein relocation is suggested to be of importance for successful sperm-egg interaction, adhesion and subsequent gamete fusion and is being targeted as a tool for infertility diagnostics.

 2. CD9 and CD81 Interaction and their Structure Modelling in Sperm Prior to Fertilization.  

The species-specific traits in CD9 and CD81 distribution during sperm maturation were compared between mice and humans. Confocal microscopy and colocalization assay was used to determine a mutual CD9/CD81 localization visualised in detail by super-resolution microscopy, and their interaction was address by co-immunoprecipitation. A mutual position of CD9/CD81 is shown in human spermatozoa in the acrosomal cap, however in mice, CD9 and CD81 occupy a distinct area. During the acrosome reaction in human sperm, only CD9 is relocated, compared to the relocation of both proteins in mice. The structural modelling of CD9 and CD81 homologous and possibly heterologous network formation was used to propose their lateral Cis as well as Trans interactions within the sperm membrane and during sperm-egg membrane fusion.

  • Collaborating institutions: Department of Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, University of Life Sciences Prague, Prague 6, 165 00, Czech Republic. Laboratory of Structural Bioinformatics of Proteins, Institute of Biotechnology CAS, v.v.i., BIOCEV, 252 50, Vestec, Czech Republic. Laboratory of Reproductive Physiology, Institute of Animal Biochemistry and Genetics Centre of Biosciences Slovak Academy of Sciences, 845 05 Bratislava, Slovakia. Department of Biochemistry and Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague 2, 128 44, Czech Republic.
  • Contact person: Dr. Katerina Hortova, 604855871,
  • Publication: Frolikova M, Manaskova-Postlerova P, Cerny J, Jankovicova J, Simonik O, Pohlova A, Secova P, Antalikova J, Dvorakova-Hortova K. CD9 and CD81 Interaction and their Structure Modelling in Sperm Prior to Fertilization. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Apr 19;19(4). Pii: E1236. Doi: 10.3390/Ijms19041236.


3. Methylation analysis of histone H4K12ac-associated promoters in sperm of healthy donors and subfertile patients.

In men, histone-protamine exchange is incomplete, remaining histones are acetylated which represents an epigenetic mark transmitted from sperm and regulating early embryo gene expression. During mouse fertilization, paternal pronucleus exhibits a strong acetylation on H4K12, while maternal one shows its permanent increase until pronuclei fusion. Aberrant histone acetylation within developmentally important gene promoters in subfertile men but not DNA methylation, may reflect insufficient sperm chromatin compaction affecting the transfer of epigenetic marks to the egg.

  • Collaborating institutions: Section Molecular Andrology, Biomedical Research Center Seltersberg, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, 35392 Giessen, Germany. Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, 12844 Prague, Czech Republic. Department of Urology, Pediatric Urology and Andrology, Justus Liebieg University of Giessen, 35392 Giessen, Germany. Fertility Center, 35578 Wetzlar, Germany. Fertility Center, 65189 Wiesbaden, Germany.
  • Contact person: Mrs. Kateřina Hortová, 604855871,
  • Publication: Vieweg M, Dvorakova-Hortova K, Dudkova B, Waliszewski P, Otte M, Oels B, Hajimohammad A, Turley H, Schorsch M, Schuppe HC, Weidner W, Steger K, Paradowska-Dogan A.: Methylation analysis of histone H4K12ac-associated promoters in sperm of healthy donors and subfertile patients. Clin Epigenetics. 19;7(1):31. 2015 doi: 10.1186/s13148-015-0058-4.




Pavlinkova, G., Margaryan, H., Zatecka, E., Valaskova, E., Elzeinova, F., Kubatova, A., Bohuslavova, R., Peknicova, J. Transgenerational inheritance of susceptibility to diabetes-induced male subfertility. Scientific Reports, 7: 4940, 2017. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05286-0. ISSN: 2045-2322.

Drab, T., Ren, S., Manaskova-Postlerova, P., Ticha, M., Jonakova, V., Liberda, J. Glycosidases in porcine follicular fluid and their effect in zona pellucida-AWN 1 spermadhesin interaction. Theriogenology, 100: 80-87, 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2017.06.011. ISSN: 0093-691X.

Dostalova, P., Zatecka, E., Dvorakova-Hortova, K. Of Oestrogens and Sperm: A Review of the Roles of Oestrogens and Oestrogen Receptors in Male Reproduction. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(5): 904, 2017. doi: 10.3390/ijms18050904. ISSN 1661-6596.

Dong, L. F., Kovarova, J., Bajzikova, M., Bezawork-Geleta, A., Svec, D., Endaya, B., Sachaphibulkij, K., Coelho, A. R., Sebkova, N., Ruzickova, A., Tan, A. S., Kluckova, K., Judasova, K., Zamecnikova, K., Rychtarcikova, Z., Gopalan, V., Sobol, M., Yan, B., Pattnaik, B., Bhatraju, N., Truksa, J., Stopka, P., Hozak, P., Lam, A., Sedlacek, R., Oliveira, P. J., Kubista, M., Agrawal, A., Dvorakova-Hortova, K., Rohlena, J., Berridge, M. V., Neuzil, J. Horizontal transfer of whole mitochondria restores tumorigenic potential in mitochondrial DNA-deficient cancer cells. eLife, 6:e22187, 2017. doi: 10.7554/eLife.22187. ISSN 2050-084X.


Bosakova Z, Tockstein A, Adamusova H, Coufal P, Sebkova N, Dvorakova-Hortova K. (2016) Kinetic analysis of decreased sperm fertilizing ability by fluorides and fluoroaluminates: a tool for analyzing the effect of environmental substances on biological events. Eur Biophys J., 45(1):71-9. doi: 10.1007/s00249-015-1078-x.

Maňásková-Postlerová P, Cozlová N, Dorosh A, Šulc M, Guyonnet B, Jonáková V. (2016) Acrosin inhibitor detection along the boar epididymis. Int J Biol Macromol., 82:733-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2015.10.034.

Capkova J, Kubatova A, Ded L, Tepla O, Peknicova J. (2016) Evaluation of the expression of sperm proteins in normozoospermic and asthenozoospermic men using monoclonal antibodies. Asian J Androl., 18(1):108-13.

Frolikova, M., Sebkova, N., Ded, L., Dvorakova-Hortova, K. Characterization of CD46 and β1 integrin dynamics during sperm acrosome reaction. Scientific Reports, 6: 33714, 2016. doi: 10.1038/srep33714. eISSN 2045-2322.

Jankovicova, J., Frolikova, M., Sebkova, N., Simon, M., Cupperova, P., Lipcseyova, D., Michalkova, K., Horovska, L., Sedlacek, R., Stopka, P., Antalikova, J., Dvorakova-Hortova, K. Characterization of tetraspanin protein CD81 in mouse spermatozoa and bovine gametes. Reproduction, 152: 785-793, 2016. doi: 10.1530/REP-16-0304. ISSN 1470-1626.


Capkova J, Margaryan H, Kubatova A, Novak P, Peknicova J. (2015) Target antigens for Hs-14 monoclonal antibody and their various expression in normozoospermic and asthenozoospermic men. Basic Clin Androl., 25:11. doi: 10.1186/s12610-015-0025-0.

Brieño-Enríquez MA, García-López J, Cárdenas DB, Guibert S, Cleroux E, Děd L, Hourcade Jde D, Pěknicová J, Weber M, Del Mazo J. (2015) Exposure to endocrine disruptor induces transgenerational epigenetic deregulation of microRNAs in primordial germ cells. PLoS One., 10(4):e0124296. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124296.

Zigo M, Dorosh A, Pohlová A, Jonáková V, Šulc M, Maňásková-Postlerová P. (2015) Panel of monoclonal antibodies to sperm surface proteins as a tool for monitoring localization and identification of sperm-zona pellucida receptors. Cell Tissue Res., 359(3):895-908. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-2072-9

Vieweg M, Dvorakova-Hortova K, Dudkova B, Waliszewski P, Otte M, Oels B, Hajimohammad A, Turley H, Schorsch M, Schuppe HC, Weidner W, Steger K, Paradowska-Dogan A. (2015): Methylation analysis of histone H4K12ac-associated promoters in sperm of healthy donors and subfertile patients. Clin Epigenetics., 19;7(1):31. doi: 10.1186/s13148-015-0058-4

Margaryan H, Dorosh A, Capkova J, Manaskova-Postlerova P, Philimonenko A, Hozak P, Peknicova J.: (2015) Characterization and possible function of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase-spermatogenic protein GAPDHS in mammalian sperm. Reprod Biol Endocrinol., 13:15. doi: 10.1186/s12958-015-0008-1.


Alavi, S. H. M., Postlerova-Manaskova, P., Hatef, A., Psenicka, M., Peknicova, J., Inaba, K., Ciereszko, A., Linhart, O. Protease in sturgeon sperm and the effects of protease inhibitors on sperm motility and velocity. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, 40(58): 1393-1398, 2014. doi: 10.1007/s10695-014-9933-8. ISSN 0920-1742.

Dvorakova-Hortova, K., Sidlova, A., Ded, L., Hladovcova, D., Vieweg, M., Weidner, W., Steger, K., Stopka, P., Paradowska-Dogan, A. Toxoplasma gondii decreases the reproductive fitness in mice. PLoS ONE, 9(6): e96770, 2014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096770. ISSN 1932-6203.

Sebkova, N., Ded, L., Vesela, K., Dvorakova-Hortova, K. Progress of sperm Izumo1 relocation during spontaneous acrosome reaction. Reproduction, 147(2): 231-240, 2014. doi: 10.1530/REP-13-0193. ISSN 1470-1626.

Zatecka, E., Castillo, J., Elzeinova, F., Kubatova, A., Ded, L., Peknicova, J., Oliva, R. The effect of tetrabromobisphenol A on protamine content and DNA integrity in mouse spermatozoa. Andrology, 2(6): 910-917, 2014. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-2927.2014.00257.x. ISSN 2047-2919.

Zatecka, E., Ded, L., Elzeinova, F., Kubatova, A., Dorosh, A., Margaryan, H., Dostalova, P., Korenkova, V., Hoskova, K., Peknicova, J. Effect of zearalenone on reproductive parameters and expression of selected testicular genes in mice. Reproductive toxicology, 45: 20-30, 2014. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.01.003. ISSN 1873-1708.


Zatecka, E., Ded, L., Elzeinova, F., Kubatova, A., Dorosh, A., Margaryan, H., Dostalova, P., Peknicova, J. Effect of tetrabrombisphenol A on induction of apoptosis in the testes and changes in expression of selected testicular genes in CD1 mice. Reproductive Toxicology, 35: 32-39, 2013. ISSN 0890-6238.

Ded, L., Sebkova, N., Cerna, M., Elzeinova, E., Dostalova, P., Peknicova, J., Dvorakova-Hortova, K. In vivo exposure to 17β-estradiol triggers premature sperm capacitation in cauda epididymis. Reproduction, 145(3): 255-263, 2013. ISSN 1470-1626.

Elzeinova, F., Peknicova, J., Ded, L., Dorosh, A., Kubatova, A., Margaryan, H., Makovicky, P., Rajmon, R. Adverse effect of tetracycline and doxycycline on testicular tissue and sperm parameters in CD1 outbred mice. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology,65(6): 911-917, 2013. ISSN 0940-2993.

Dorosh, A., Tepla, O., Zatecka, E., Ded, L., Koci, K., Peknicova, J. Expression analysis of MND1/GAJ, SPATA22, GAPDHS and ACR genes in testicular biopsies from non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) patients. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 11:42, 2013. ISSN 1477-7827.

Zigo, M., Jonakova, V., Sulc, M., Manaskova-Postlerova, P. Characterization of sperm surface protein patterns of ejaculated and capacitated boar sperm, with the detection of ZP binding candidates. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 61: 322-328, 2013. ISSN 0141-8130.


Babcova, K., Ulcova-Gallova, Z., Bibkova, K., Micanova, Z., Peknicova J. Semen and serum inhibin B, and sperm quality in infertile men. Andrologia, 21: 3-12, 2012. ISSN 1310-3806.

Capkova, J., Hrncir, T., Kubatova, A., Tlaskalova-Hogenova, H. Lipopolysaccharide treatment suppresses spontaneously developing ankylosing enthesopathy in B10.BR male mice: The potential role of interleukin-10. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 13: 110-118, 2012. ISSN 1471-2474.

Sebkova, N., Cerna, M., Ded, L., Peknicova, J., Dvorakova-Hortova, K. The slower the better: how sperm capacitation and acrosome reaction is modified in the presence of estrogen. Reproduction, 143: 297-307, 2012. ISSN 1470-1626.

Yi, Y. J., Zimmermann, S. W., Manandhar, G., Odhiambo, J. F., Kennedy, C., Jonakova, V., Manaskova-Postlerova, P., Sutovsky, M., Park, Ch. S., Sutovsky, P. Ubiquitin-activating enzyme (UBA1) is required for sperm capacitation, acrosomal exocytosis and sperm-egg coat penetration during porcine fertilization. International Journal of Andrology, 35: 196-210, 2012. ISSN 0105-6263.


RNDr. Kateřina Hortová, Ph.D.

Kateřina Hortová, Ph.D.

Head of Group Reproductive Biology
RNDr. Pavla Postlerová, Ph.D.

Pavla Postlerová, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher
doc. RNDr. Věra Jonáková, DrSc.

doc. RNDr.
Věra Jonáková, DrSc.

Senior researcher
doc. RNDr. Jana Pěknicová, CSc.

doc. RNDr.
Jana Pěknicová, CSc.

Director of Institute of Biotechnology AS CR
Senior Researcher
RNDr. Nataša Šebková, Ph.D.

Nataša Šebková, Ph.D.

Senior Researcher
Mgr. Lukáš Děd, Ph.D.

Lukáš Děd, Ph.D.

Postdoctorand fellow
Mgr. Michaela Frolíková, Ph.D.

Michaela Frolíková, Ph.D.

Postdoctorand fellow
Mgr. Eva Žatecká, Ph.D.

Eva Žatecká, Ph.D.

Postdoctorand fellow
Mgr. Eliška Valášková

Eliška Valášková

Mgr. Veronika Páleníková

Veronika Páleníková

PhD Student
Mgr. Pavla Dostálová

Pavla Dostálová

PhD student
Mgr. Alžběta Pohlová

Alžběta Pohlová

PhD Student