Dissociation between AKAP3 and PKARII Promotes AKAP3 Degradation in Sperm Capacitation

Pnina Hillman, Debby Ickowicz, Ruth Vizel, Haim Breitbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Ejaculated spermatozoa must undergo a series of biochemical modifications called capacitation, prior to fertilization. Protein-kinase A (PKA) mediates sperm capacitation, although its regulation is not fully understood. Sperm contain several A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs), which are scaffold proteins that anchor PKA. In this study, we show that AKAP3 is degraded in bovine sperm incubated under capacitation conditions. The degradation rate is variable in sperm from different bulls and is correlated with the capacitation ability. The degradation of AKAP3 was significantly inhibited by MG-132, a proteasome inhibitor, indicating that AKAP3 degradation occurs via the proteasomal machinery. Treatment with Ca2+-ionophore induced further degradation of AKAP3; however, this effect was found to be enhanced in the absence of Ca2+ in the medium or when intracellular Ca2+ was chelated the degradation rate of AKAP3 was significantly enhanced when intracellular space was alkalized using NH4Cl, or when sperm were treated with Ht31, a peptide that contains the PKA-binding domain of AKAPs. Moreover, inhibition of PKA activity by H89, or its activation using 8Br-cAMP, increased AKAP3 degradation rate. This apparent contradiction could be explained by assuming that binding of PKA to AKAP3 protects AKAP3 from degradation. We conclude that AKAP3 degradation is regulated by intracellular alkalization and PKARII anchoring during sperm capacitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere68873
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
StatePublished - 23 Jul 2013


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