Calcium mobilization and influx during sperm exocytosis

Ben Spungin, Haim Breitbart

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    96 Scopus citations


    We have previously shown that two intracellular events which occur during capacitation of bovine sperm are the formation of actin filaments on the plasma and outer acrosomal membranes and the attachment of a PIP2-specific phospholipase C (PLC) to this membrane bound F-actin. This PLC plays an essential role in sperm exocytosis (acrosome reaction). In the present report, we further elucidated the role of this PLC using a PIP2-specific PLC of bacterial origin. This PLC is different from the endogenous sperm PLC in that it is calcium independent and not inhibited by neomycin. Here we report using bovine sperm that this bacterial PLC can restore actin release from extracted membranes as well as membrane fusion in a cell-free assay when the endogenous PLC is inhibited by neomycin. The sperm PLC requires 2 μM calcium for half maximal activation, while half maximal actin release from extracted plasma membranes occurs at 80 μM. Extracted sperm membranes were examined for calcium pumps and channels. Sperm plasma membranes were found to possess a thapsigargin insensitive calcium pump and calcium channels which are opened by phosphorylation by protein kinase C. The acrosomal membrane possesses a calcium pump which is inhibited by thapsigargin and calcium channels which are opened by cAMP. These observations are discussed in terms of a model of acrosomal exocytosis which involves a calcium rise that occurs in two stages resulting from calcium mobilization from internal stores followed by influx of extracellular calcium.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1947-1955
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Cell Science
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - Jul 1996


    • Acrosome reaction
    • Exocytosis
    • F-actin
    • Membrane fusion
    • Phospholipase C
    • Sperm


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