“Spermatozoa and Schmidtea mediterranea as alternative models for the evaluation of CPPs and bioportides: Progress towards a non-hormonal male contraceptive and generation of a novel CPP”
Dr Sarah Jones is a Reader in Pharmacology and a member of the Molecular Pharmacology Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton. For the past 20 years, Sarah’s research has focussed on Cell Penetrating Peptides (CPPs) and she has played a major role in the development of bioactive CPPs, bioportides. This has resulted in a paradigm shift from the use of CPPs merely as inert vectors, to their applicability and therapeutic utility as modulators of intracellular protein-protein interactions. Identification of these novel cryptic CPPs within key signalling proteins has resulted in scientific publications regarding the utility of bioportide technology in apoptosis, angiogenesis and Parkinson’s disease pathophysiology. In 2013, the Molecular Pharmacology Group reported that CPPs readily enter spermatozoa. This development precipitated the subsequent identification of bioportides capable of penetrating human sperm cells to modulate the activities of intracellular proteins that control calcium signalling, motility and fertilisation capacity and as such has laid the foundations for the development of a non-hormonal male contraceptive.