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Harvey M Florman PhD

TitleProfessor Emeritus
InstitutionUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
DepartmentObstetrics and Gynecology
AddressUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester MA 01655
Phone508-856-1675
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    Other Positions
    InstitutionUMMS - School of Medicine
    DepartmentObstetrics and Gynecology

    InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentBiochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

    InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentCell Biology

    InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentInterdisciplinary Graduate Program


    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Rutgers University- New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ, United StatesB ABiology
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United StatesPH DPhysiology

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview


    Academic Background



    1972 B.A., Rutgers College

    1982 Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania



    Mechanisms of Fertilization



    Fertilization is the process by which sperm and egg fuse and the program of development is initiated. This is controlled in mammals at two steps: 1) sperm first undergo “capacitation”, a physiological reprogramming that occurs within the female reproductive tract and that is essential for the expression of fertility; and 2) capacitated sperm interact with the egg. Our work has focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control these two events. To this end, we apply a range of biophysical (single cell fluorescence imaging, patch clamp electrophysiology), biochemical and molecular techniques.



    Studies of capacitation address the control of sperm signal transduction pathways that lead to fertility. Ion fluxes are important regulators of this process and we have identified key roles of sperm membrane potential and pH. In addition, we recently recognized a role of polycystic kidney disease proteins in capacitation. Ongoing and future studies address the mechanisms by which factors from the female reproductive tract regulate these and other pathways, leading to sperm fertility.



    Sperm-egg interaction begins when sperm contact the egg extracellular matrix (the zona pellucida). ZP3, a protein component of the zona pellucida, activates sperm and triggers a secretory event known as the acrosome reaction. This is an obligatory event in gamete interaction that must be completed if sperm are to fuse with eggs, and disruption of the zona pellucida-evoked acrosome reaction is linked to several types of male infertility. We have worked on the signal transduction cascade that is regulated by ZP3. Specifically, we have focused on the intersecting roles of Ca2+ and Ca2+ channels, of phosphatidylinositol pathways, and protein kinases in the control of the acrosome reaction.




    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Balbach M, Hamzeh H, Jikeli JF, Brenker C, Schiffer C, Hansen JN, Neugebauer P, Trötschel C, Jovine L, Han L, Florman HM, Kaupp UB, Strünker T, Wachten D. Molecular Mechanism Underlying the Action of Zona-pellucida Glycoproteins on Mouse Sperm. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020; 8:572735. PMID: 32984353.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Florman HM. 101 on: How we understand polyspermy functions and defenses after E.E. Just's 1919 study. Mol Reprod Dev. 2020 Feb 20. PMID: 32080925.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Jungnickel MK, Sutton KA, Baker MA, Cohen MG, Sanderson MJ, Florman HM. The flagellar protein Enkurin is required for mouse sperm motility and for transport through the female reproductive tract. Biol Reprod. 2018 May 03. PMID: 29733335.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Florman HM. A transition at Molecular Reproduction and Development. Mol Reprod Dev. 2018 Jan; 85(1):1. PMID: 29266626.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Sigg MA, Menchen T, Lee C, Johnson J, Jungnickel MK, Choksi SP, Garcia G, Busengdal H, Dougherty GW, Pennekamp P, Werner C, Rentzsch F, Florman HM, Krogan N, Wallingford JB, Omran H, Reiter JF. Evolutionary Proteomics Uncovers Ancient Associations of Cilia with Signaling Pathways. Dev Cell. 2017 12 18; 43(6):744-762.e11. PMID: 29257953.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Florman H, Latham K, Prather R, Williams C, Wolfner M. Thanks! Mol Reprod Dev. 2017 Dec; 84(12):1233. PMID: 29314476.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Florman H, Gerton G, Kopf G, Visconti P. The 3 Ws of Bayard T. Storey - Wisdom, wine, and wit. Mol Reprod Dev. 2017 Nov; 84(11):1113. PMID: 29144577.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Florman HM. Min Chueh Chang, In Context. Mol Reprod Dev. 2016 Oct; 83(10):843-845. PMID: 27780303.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Florman HM, Cao W, Jungnickel MK, Sutton KA, Tsai PS. Coup d'oeil of sperm. Mol Reprod Dev. 2012 May; 79(5):Fm i. PMID: 22508555.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Sutton KA, Jungnickel MK, Jovine L, Florman HM. Evolution of the voltage sensor domain of the voltage-sensitive phosphoinositide phosphatase VSP/TPTE suggests a role as a proton channel in eutherian mammals. Mol Biol Evol. 2012 Sep; 29(9):2147-55. PMID: 22396523.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Williams C, Florman H, Yanagamachi R. On the shoulders of giants: Robert G. Edwards, Nobel Laureate. Mol Reprod Dev. 2010 Dec; 77(12). PMID: 21182112.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Kan MC, Oruganty-Das A, Cooper-Morgan A, Jin G, Swanger SA, Bassell GJ, Florman H, van Leyen K, Richter JD. CPEB4 is a cell survival protein retained in the nucleus upon ischemia or endoplasmic reticulum calcium depletion. Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Dec; 30(24):5658-71. PMID: 20937770.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Visconti PE, Florman HM. Mechanisms of sperm-egg interactions: between sugars and broken bonds. Sci Signal. 2010 Oct 05; 3(142):pe35. PMID: 20923932.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Florman HM, Jungnickel MK, Sutton KA. Shedding light on sperm pHertility. Cell. 2010 Feb 5; 140(3):310-2. PMID: 20144756.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Sutton KA, Jungnickel MK, Florman HM. A polycystin-1 controls postcopulatory reproductive selection in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jun 24; 105(25):8661-6. PMID: 18562295.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Florman HM, Jungnickel MK, Sutton KA. Regulating the acrosome reaction. Int J Dev Biol. 2008; 52(5-6):503-10. PMID: 18649263.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Florman HM, Jungnickel MK, Sutton KA. What can we learn about fertilization from cystic fibrosis? Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jul 3; 104(27):11123-4. PMID: 17595298.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Jungnickel MK, Sutton KA, Wang Y, Florman HM. Phosphoinositide-dependent pathways in mouse sperm are regulated by egg ZP3 and drive the acrosome reaction. Dev Biol. 2007 Apr 1; 304(1):116-26. PMID: 17258189.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Sutton KA, Jungnickel MK, Ward CJ, Harris PC, Florman HM. Functional characterization of PKDREJ, a male germ cell-restricted polycystin. J Cell Physiol. 2006 Nov; 209(2):493-500. PMID: 16883570.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Sutton KA, Jungnickel MK, Wang Y, Cullen K, Lambert S, Florman HM. Enkurin is a novel calmodulin and TRPC channel binding protein in sperm. Dev Biol. 2004 Oct 15; 274(2):426-35. PMID: 15385169.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Galantino-Homer HL, Florman HM, Storey BT, Dobrinski I, Kopf GS. Bovine sperm capacitation: assessment of phosphodiesterase activity and intracellular alkalinization on capacitation-associated protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Mol Reprod Dev. 2004 Apr; 67(4):487-500. PMID: 14991741.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Sutton KA, Jungnickel MK, Florman HM. Of fertility, cystic fibrosis and the bicarbonate ion. Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Oct; 5(10):857-9. PMID: 14523397.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Jungnickel MK, Sutton KA, Florman HM. In the beginning: lessons from fertilization in mice and worms. Cell. 2003 Aug 22; 114(4):401-4. PMID: 12941269.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Kirkman-Brown JC, Sutton KA, Florman HM. How to attract a sperm. Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Feb; 5(2):93-6. PMID: 12563269.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Evans JP, Florman HM. The state of the union: the cell biology of fertilization. Nat Cell Biol. 2002 Oct; 4 Suppl:s57-63. PMID: 12479616.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Sutton KA, Jungnickel MK, Florman HM. If music be the food of love... Nat Cell Biol. 2002 Jun; 4(6):E154-5. PMID: 12042831.
      View in: PubMed
    27. González-Martínez MT, Galindo BE, de De La Torre L, Zapata O, Rodríguez E, Florman HM, Darszon A. A sustained increase in intracellular Ca(2+) is required for the acrosome reaction in sea urchin sperm. Dev Biol. 2001 Aug 1; 236(1):220-9. PMID: 11456456.
      View in: PubMed
    28. López-González I, De La Vega-Beltrán JL, Santi CM, Florman HM, Felix R, Darszon A. Calmodulin antagonists inhibit T-type Ca(2+) currents in mouse spermatogenic cells and the zona pellucida-induced sperm acrosome reaction. Dev Biol. 2001 Aug 1; 236(1):210-9. PMID: 11456455.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Jungnickel MK, Marrero H, Birnbaumer L, Lémos JR, Florman HM. Trp2 regulates entry of Ca2+ into mouse sperm triggered by egg ZP3. Nat Cell Biol. 2001 May; 3(5):499-502. PMID: 11331878.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Gross VS, Wessel G, Florman HM, Ducibella T. A monoclonal antibody that recognizes mammalian cortical granules and a 32-kilodalton protein in mouse eggs. Biol Reprod. 2000 Aug; 63(2):575-81. PMID: 10906067.
      View in: PubMed
    31. O'Toole CM, Arnoult C, Darszon A, Steinhardt RA, Florman HM. Ca(2+) entry through store-operated channels in mouse sperm is initiated by egg ZP3 and drives the acrosome reaction. Mol Biol Cell. 2000 May; 11(5):1571-84. PMID: 10793136.
      View in: PubMed
    32. Arnoult C, Kazam IG, Visconti PE, Kopf GS, Villaz M, Florman HM. Control of the low voltage-activated calcium channel of mouse sperm by egg ZP3 and by membrane hyperpolarization during capacitation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Jun 8; 96(12):6757-62. PMID: 10359785.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Florman HM, Arnoult C, Kazam IG, Li C, O'Toole CM. A perspective on the control of mammalian fertilization by egg-activated ion channels in sperm: a tale of two channels. Biol Reprod. 1998 Jul; 59(1):12-6. PMID: 9674987.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Arnoult C, Cardullo RA, Lemos JR, Florman HM. Activation of mouse sperm T-type Ca2+ channels by adhesion to the egg zona pellucida. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Nov 12; 93(23):13004-9. PMID: 8917534.
      View in: PubMed
    35. Arnoult C, Zeng Y, Florman HM. ZP3-dependent activation of sperm cation channels regulates acrosomal secretion during mammalian fertilization. J Cell Biol. 1996 Aug; 134(3):637-45. PMID: 8707844.
      View in: PubMed
    36. Zeng Y, Oberdorf JA, Florman HM. pH regulation in mouse sperm: identification of Na(+)-, Cl(-)-, and HCO3(-)-dependent and arylaminobenzoate-dependent regulatory mechanisms and characterization of their roles in sperm capacitation. Dev Biol. 1996 Feb 1; 173(2):510-20. PMID: 8606009.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Zeng Y, Clark EN, Florman HM. Sperm membrane potential: hyperpolarization during capacitation regulates zona pellucida-dependent acrosomal secretion. Dev Biol. 1995 Oct; 171(2):554-63. PMID: 7556936.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Florman HM. Sequential focal and global elevations of sperm intracellular Ca2+ are initiated by the zona pellucida during acrosomal exocytosis. Dev Biol. 1994 Sep; 165(1):152-64. PMID: 8088433.
      View in: PubMed
    39. Clark EN, Corron ME, Florman HM. Caltrin, the calcium transport regulatory peptide of spermatozoa, modulates acrosomal exocytosis in response to the egg's zona pellucida. J Biol Chem. 1993 Mar 5; 268(7):5309-16. PMID: 8444904.
      View in: PubMed
    40. Florman HM, Corron ME, Kim TD, Babcock DF. Activation of voltage-dependent calcium channels of mammalian sperm is required for zona pellucida-induced acrosomal exocytosis. Dev Biol. 1992 Aug; 152(2):304-14. PMID: 1379559.
      View in: PubMed
    41. Florman HM, Tombes RM, First NL, Babcock DF. An adhesion-associated agonist from the zona pellucida activates G protein-promoted elevations of internal Ca2+ and pH that mediate mammalian sperm acrosomal exocytosis. Dev Biol. 1989 Sep; 135(1):133-46. PMID: 2504631.
      View in: PubMed
    42. Florman HM, First NL. The regulation of acrosomal exocytosis. I. Sperm capacitation is required for the induction of acrosome reactions by the bovine zona pellucida in vitro. Dev Biol. 1988 Aug; 128(2):453-63. PMID: 3396768.
      View in: PubMed
    43. Florman HM, First NL. Regulation of acrosomal exocytosis. II. The zona pellucida-induced acrosome reaction of bovine spermatozoa is controlled by extrinsic positive regulatory elements. Dev Biol. 1988 Aug; 128(2):464-73. PMID: 3396769.
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    44. Wassarman PM, Bleil JD, Florman HM, Greve JM, Roller RJ, Salzmann GS. Nature of the mouse egg's receptor for sperm. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1986; 207:55-77. PMID: 3548245.
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    45. Florman HM, Wassarman PM. O-linked oligosaccharides of mouse egg ZP3 account for its sperm receptor activity. Cell. 1985 May; 41(1):313-24. PMID: 2986849.
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    46. Wassarman PM, Bleil JD, Florman HM, Greve JM, Roller RJ, Salzmann GS, Samuels FG. The mouse egg's receptor for sperm: what is it and how does it work? Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 1985; 50:11-9. PMID: 3006984.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Florman HM, Bechtol KB, Wassarman PM. Enzymatic dissection of the functions of the mouse egg's receptor for sperm. Dev Biol. 1984 Nov; 106(1):243-55. PMID: 6386571.
      View in: PubMed
    48. Florman HM, Storey BT. Mouse gamete interactions: the zona pellucida is the site of the acrosome reaction leading to fertilization in vitro. Dev Biol. 1982 May; 91(1):121-30. PMID: 7201425.
      View in: PubMed
    49. Florman HM, Storey BT. Inhibition of in vitro fertilization of mouse eggs: 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate specifically blocks penetration of zonae pellucidae by mouse spermatozoa. J Exp Zool. 1981 Apr; 216(1):159-67. PMID: 7288385.
      View in: PubMed
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