Prof. William V. Holt
Secretary - ZSL Ethics Committee
- 1995-2011: Head of Reproductive Biology. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.
- 1983-1995: Research Fellow, Reproductive Biology Group, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.
- 1975-1979: PhD(Univ. London); Royal Veterinary College, London.
Offices held; Professional Organisations:
- 2004-2009: Chairman of the British Andrology Society.
- 1991-1996: Secretary of The British Andrology Society.
- 1996-1998: Committee member of The British Andrology Society.
- 1993-2002: Founder member of "UK Pig Reproduction Research Liaison Group"; an advisory committee of 8 representatives from research, industry and funding organizations.
- 1999-2002: Committee member of The Society for Low Temperature Biology.
- July 2004-Date: Chairman of The British Andrology Society.
- 2002-Date: Co-Chair (with Dr Monika Paris) of the Health and Safety subcommittee of the CANDES (Companion and Domestic Animals and Endangered Species) of the International Embryo Transfer Society.
I have tried to combine studies of basic reproductive biology in various species with some practical developments of reproductive technology. While research into agricultural species has brought in the grants, I have tried to find out what determines our ability to cryopreserve spermatozoa in various species. This led me to several collaborations with Australian groups, trying, so far without success, to freeze wallaby, kangaroo and koala sperm. In an effort to find out more about the deleterious effects of sperm freezing on sperm DNA integrity I developed a fruitful collaboration with Professor Jaime Gosalvez (Madrid). By studying a variety of species we showed that the stability of the sperm DNA under freezing duress is directly correlated with ability of sperm head proteins to form stable and highly crosslinked structure. I also have a long standing interest in computer-assisted semen analysis, and was instrumental in developing the Hobson Sperm Tracker in the early 1990s.
I have a long standing interests in the biology of sperm transport and storage in the female reproductive tract and, together with Professor Alireza Fazeli (University of Sheffield), was among the first to demonstrate that when sperm arrive in the female tract they stimulate de novo gene transcription and protein production. Later in vitro studies showed that the gene transcription only occurs if the sperm make direct contact with epithelial cells. Parallel studies showed that one of the newly produced proteins (heat shock protein A8) could prolong sperm lifespan if added to semen diluents. These studies are continuing to uncover exciting new phenomena, including the observation that sex-sorted X- and Y- bearing sperm stimulate the differential upregulation of gene transcription.
More recently I have also branched out into the world of fish sperm biology. This was prompted by someone from “Project seahorse” telling me that very little is known about the reproductive biology of seahorses, and indeed how important it is to know more, given their globally perilous state. Climate change, pollution and heavy over fishing have put these species in danger of extinction, but we don’t even know how they transfer sperm from the testes to the eggs. Working with a colleague from Ukraine, Dr Boris Dzuba, we have shown that seahorses produce the smallest numbers of sperm of any fish species, but that they use them incredibly efficiently. The sperm-egg ratio is only about 5:1, which is amazing for a species that apparently uses an external mode of fertilisation. I am currently also working with colleagues from the Canary Islands on the influence of the male’s periconception diet on seahorse pregnancy (which occurs in males rather than females!) and the fitness of offspring.
Holt WV, Fazeli A. 2016. Sperm selection in the female mammalian reproductive tract. Focus on the oviduct: Hypotheses, mechanisms, and new opportunities. Theriogenology 85: 105-12
Holt WV, Fazeli A. 2016. Sperm Storage in the Female Reproductive Tract. Annual Review of Animal Biosciences 4: 291-310
Comizzoli P, Holt WV. 2016. Implications of the Nagoya Protocol for genome resource banks composed of biomaterials from rare and endangered species. Reproduction Fertility and Development 28:: 1145-60
Lloyd RE, Keatley K, Littlewood DTJ, Meunier B, Holt WV, et al. 2015. Identification and functional prediction of mitochondrial complex III and IV mutations associated with glioblastoma. Neuro-Oncology 17: 942-52
Larroze S, Pickford DB, Holt WV. 2015. Validation of computer-assisted sperm-motility analysis in the amphibian Silurana tropicalis. Reproduction Fertility and Development 27: 1049-56
Holt WV, Fazeli A. 2015. Do sperm possess a molecular passport? Mechanistic insights into sperm selection in the female reproductive tract. Molecular Human Reproduction gav012
Holt WV, Del Valle I, Fazeli A. 2015. Heat shock protein A8 stabilizes the bull sperm plasma membrane during cryopreservation: Effects of breed, protein concentration, and mode of use. Theriogenology 84: 693-701
Fazeli A, Moein-Vaziri N, Holt WV. 2015. Proteomics of the periconception milieu. Proteomics 15: 649-55
Saavedra M, Masdeu M, Hale P, Sibbons CM, Holt WV. 2014. Dietary fatty acid enrichment increases egg size and quality of yellow seahorse Hippocampus kuda. Animal Reproduction Science 145: 54-61
Otero-Ferrer F, Izquierdo M, Fazeli A, Holt WV. 2014. Embryonic developmental plasticity in the long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus reidi, Ginsburg 1933) in relation to parental preconception diet. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 28: 1020-28
Otero-Ferrer F, Izquierdo M, Fazeli A, Holt WV. 2014. Sex-specific effects of parental diet during pregnancy on embryo development in the long snout seahorse (Hippocampus reidi; Ginsburg, 1933).Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Embryo Transfer Society, 10–13 January 2015, Versailles, France
Moein-Vaziri N, Phillips I, Smith S, Alminana C, Maside C, et al. 2014. Heat-shock protein A8 restores sperm membrane integrity by increasing plasma membrane fluidity. Reproduction 147: 719-32
Kumar E, Holt WV. 2014. In Reproductive Sciences in Animal Conservation, ed. WV Holt, JL Brown, P Comizzoli, pp. 55-70: Springer New York
Johnston SD, Holt WV. 2014. In Reproductive Sciences in Animal Conservation, ed. WV Holt, JL Brown, P Comizzoli, pp. 171-203: Springer New York
Imrat P, Mahasawangkul S, Thitaram C, Suthanmapinanth P, Kornkaewrat K, et al. 2014. Effect of alternate day collection on semen quality of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) with poor initial fresh semen quality. Animal Reproduction Science 147: 154-60
Holt WV, Brown JL, Comizzoli P. 2014. In Reproductive Sciences in Animal Conservation, ed. WV Holt, JL Brown, P Comizzoli, pp. 3-14: Springer New York
Holt WV, Brown JL, Comizzoli P. 2014. In Reproductive Sciences in Animal Conservation, ed. WV Holt, JL Brown, P Comizzoli, pp. 503-14: Springer New York
Gosalvez J, Holt WV, Johnston SD. 2014. In Reproductive Sciences in Animal Conservation, ed. WV Holt, JL Brown, P Comizzoli, pp. 357-84: Springer New York
Comizzoli P, Holt WV. 2014. In Reproductive Sciences in Animal Conservation, ed. WV Holt, JL Brown, P Comizzoli, pp. 331-56: Springer New York
Almiñana C, Caballero I, Heath PR, Maleki-Dizaji S, Parrilla I, et al. 2014. The battle of the sexes starts in the oviduct: modulation of oviductal transcriptome by X and Y-bearing spermatozoa. BMC genomics 15: 293
Allen CD, Burridge M, et al. (2008) Control of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) anterior pituitary-gonadal axis with analogues of GnRH. Reprod Fertil Dev 20, 598-605.
Allen CD, Burridge M, et al. (2008) Successful artificial insemination in the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) using extended and extended-chilled semen collected by electroejaculation. Biol Reprod 78, 661-6.
Coy P, Lloyd R, Romar R, Matas C, Adan AG, Holt WV (2008) Bovine oviductal fluid affects quality and gene expression of in vitro derived porcine blastocysts. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 43, 66-66.
Dzyuba BB, Van Look KJW, Kholodnyy VS, Satake N, Cheung S, Holt WV (2008) Variable sperm size and motility activation in the pipefish, Syngnathus abaster; adaptations to paternal care or environmental plasticity? Reproduction Fertility and Development 20, 474-482.
Elliott RM, Lloyd RE, Fazeli A, Sostaric E, Georgiou AS, Satake N, Watson PF, Holt WV (2009) Effects of HSPA8, an evolutionarily conserved oviductal protein, on boar and bull spermatozoa. Reproduction 137, 191-203.
Gosalvez J, Cortes-Gutierrez EI, Nunez R, Fernandez JL, Caballero P, Lopez-Fernandez C, Holt WV (2009) A dynamic assessment of sperm DNA fragmentation versus sperm viability in proven fertile human donors. Fertil Steril 92, 1915-9.
Hala DN, Van Look K, Holt WV, Jobling S (2009) Validation of a method for measuring sperm quality and quantity in reproductive toxicity tests with pair-breeding male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Ilar J 50, e1-e10.
Holt WV (2008) Cryobiology, wildlife conservation and reality. CryoLetters 29, 43-52.
Holt WV (2008) How do we Test Sperm Samples for 'Fertility'? Reproduction in Domestic Animals 43, 106-106.
Holt WV (2009) Is semen analysis useful to predict the odds that the sperm will meet the egg? Reprod Domest Anim 44 Suppl 3, 31-8.
Holt WV, Green D (2008) Successful cell cultures for the Frozen Ark project derived from tissues collected 1-4 days post-mortem and stored at-80 degrees C for several months. Cryoletters 29, 85-85.
Holt WV, Hernandez M, Warrell L, Satake N (2010) The long and the short of sperm selection in vitro and in vivo: swim-up techniques select for the longer and faster swimming mammalian sperm. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23, 598-608.
Holt WV, Lloyd RE (2009) Artificial insemination for the propagation of CANDES: the reality! Theriogenology 71, 228-235.
Holt WV, Lloyd RE (2010) Sperm storage in the vertebrate female reproductive tract: How does it work so well? Theriogenology 73, 713-722.
Holt WV, O'Brien J, Abaigar T (2007) Applications and interpretation of computer-assisted sperm analyses and sperm sorting methods in assisted breeding and comparative research. Reprod Fertil Dev 19, 709-18.
Johnston SD, Lopez-Fernandez C, Gosalbez A, Zee YP, Holt WV, Allen C, Gosalvez J (2007) The relationship between sperm morphology and chromatin integrity in the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) as assessed by the sperm chromatin dispersion test (SCDt). Journal of Andrology 28, 891-899.
Johnston SD, Smith B, Pyne M, Stenzel D, Holt WV (2007) One-sided ejaculation of echidna sperm bundles. American Naturalist 170, E162-E164.
Lermen D, Blomeke B, et al. (2009) Cryobanking of viable biomaterials: implementation of new strategies for conservation purposes. Molecular Ecology 18, 1030-1033.
Lloyd RE, Badia E, Fazeli A, Watson PF, Holt WV (2008) Temporal dynamics of ram sperm binding and survival during 48-h coculture with oviducal epithelial cells. Reprod Fertil Dev 20, 835-45.
Lloyd RE, Badia E, Watson PF, Holt WV (2007) Prolonging the life of ram spermatozoa in vitro using oviductal epithelial cells. Reproduction Fertility and Development 19, 278-278.
Lloyd RE, Elliott RMA, Fazeli A, Watson PF, Holt WV (2009) Effects of oviductal proteins, including heat shock 70 kDa protein 8, on survival of ram spermatozoa over 48 h in vitro. Reproduction Fertility and Development 21, 408-418.
Lloyd RE, Romar R, Matas C, Gutierrez-Adan A, Holt WV, Coy P (2009) Effects of oviductal fluid on the development, quality, and gene expression of porcine blastocysts produced in vitro. Reproduction 137, 679-687.
Lloyd RE, Watson PF, Holt WV (2008) Heat shock cognate 70 protein improves the long-term survival of ram spermatozoa during storage at 17 degrees C in a commercial extender. Reproduction Fertility and Development 20, 88-88.
Lopez-Fernandez C, Fernandez JL, Gosalbez A, Arroyo F, Vazquez JM, Holt WV, Gosalvez J (2008) Dynamics of sperm DNA fragmentation in domestic animals III. Ram. Theriogenology 70, 898-908.
McClean R, Holt WV, Zee YP, Lisle A, Johnston SD (2008) The effect of cryoprotectant on kangaroo sperm ultrastructure and mitochondrial function. Cryobiology 57, 297-303.
McClean R, Zee YP, Holt WV, Johnston SD (2008) Cryopreservation of kangaroo spermatozoa using alternative approaches that reduce cytotoxic exposure to glycerol. Cryobiology 57, 304-307.
McClean RV, Holt WV, Johnston SD (2007) Ultrastructural observations of cryoinjury in kangaroo spermatozoa. Cryobiology 54, 271-80.
Medrano A, Holt WV, Watson PF (2009) Controlled freezing studies on boar sperm cryopreservation. Andrologia 41, 246-250.
Milligan SR, Holt WV, Lloyd R (2009) Impacts of climate change and environmental factors on reproduction and development in wildlife. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 364, 3313-3319.
Pickard AR, Holt WV (2007) Contraception in wildlife. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 33, 48-52.
Prathalingam NS, Watson PF, Revell SG, Busby J, Holt WV (2007) The response of bovine spermatozoa to bicarbonate and its use to assess the influence of added oviductal epithelial proteins on cryopreservation. Journal of Andrology 28, 407-415.
Santos EM, Paull GC, Van Look KJW, Workman VL, Holt WV, Van Aerle R, Kille P, Tyler CR (2007) Gonadal transcriptome responses and physiological consequences of exposure to oestrogen in breeding zebrafish (Danio rerio). Aquatic Toxicology 83, 134-142.
Satake N, Alhaider AK, Holt WV, Watson PF (2007) Exposure of spermatozoa to solubilized extracts of the oviductal epithelium apical plasma membrane enhances fertilization in porcine in vitro fertilization. Reproduction Fertility and Development 19, 272.
Satake N, Johnston SD, Holt WV (2009) Sperm Subpopulations in the Koala (Phascolarctos Cinereus) Ejaculate. Reproduction Fertility and Development 21, 213-214.
Satake N, Watson PF, Holt WV (2008) Phosphoinositide-3-kinase signaling and the control of sperm motility in the porcine oviduct. Reproduction Fertility and Development 20, 193.
Seytanoglu A, Georgiou AS, Sostaric E, Watson PF, Holt WV, Fazeli A (2008) Oviductal cell proteome alterations during the reproductive cycle in pigs. Journal of Proteome Research 7, 2825-2833.
van Dorsser FJD, Green DI, Holt WV, Pickard AR (2007) Ovarian activity in Arabian leopards (Panthera pardus nimr): sexual behaviour and faecal steroid monitoring during the follicular cycle, mating and pregnancy. Reproduction Fertility and Development 19, 822-830.
Van Look KJW, Dzyuba B, Cliffe A, Koldewey HJ, Holt WV (2007) Dimorphic sperm and the unlikely route to fertilisation in the yellow seahorse. Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 432-437.
Yeates SE, Einum S, Fleming IA, Megens HJ, Stet RJM, Hindar K, Holt WV, Van Look KJW, Gage MJG (2009) Atlantic salmon eggs favour sperm in competition that have similar major histocompatibility alleles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 276, 559-566.
Yeste M, Lloyd RE, Badia E, Briz M, Bonet S, Holt WV (2009) Direct contact between boar spermatozoa and porcine oviductal epithelial cell (OEC) cultures is needed for optimal sperm survival in vitro. Animal Reproduction Science 113, 263-278.
Yeste M, Lloyd RE, Briz M, Badia E, Bonet S, Holt WV (2008) Boar sperm quality after co-culture with homologous oviductal epithelial cells. Theriogenology 70, 1395-1395.
Yeste M, Lloyd RE, Briz M, Bonet S, Holt WV (2008) The changes in the expression of three heat shock proteins during in vitro homologous oviductal epithelial cell co-culture. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 43, 53-53.
Zee YP, Holt WV, Allen CD, Nicolson V, Burridge M, Lisle A, Carrick FN, Johnston SD (2007) Effects of cryopreservation on mitochondrial function and heterogeneity, lipid raft stability and phosphatidylserine translocation in koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) spermatozoa. Reprod Fertil Dev 19, 850-60.
Zee YP, Holt WV, Gosalvez J, Allen CD, Nicolson V, Pyne M, Burridge M, Carrick FN, Johnston SD (2008) Dimethylacetamide can be used as an alternative to glycerol for the successful cryopreservation of koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) spermatozoa. Reproduction Fertility and Development 20, 724–733.
Zee YP, Lopez-Fernandez C, Gosalvez J, Holt WV, Johnston SD (2009) DNA Fragmentation Dynamics of Koala Spermatozoa. Reproduction Fertility and Development 21, 141-142.