PKA and CaMKII mediate PI3K activation in bovine sperm by inhibition of the PKC/PP1 cascade

H. Rotfeld, P. Hillman, D. Ickowicz, H. Breitbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


To enable fertilization, spermatozoa must undergo several biochemical processes in the female reproductive tract, collectively called capacitation. These processes involve protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent protein tyrosine phosphorylation including phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K). It is not known how PKA, a serine/threonine (S/T) kinase, mediates tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins. We recently showed that inhibition of S/T phosphatase 1 (PP1) causes a significant increase in phospho-PI3K. In this study, we propose a mechanism by which PKA and PP1 mediate an increase in PI3K tyrosine phosphorylation and implicate calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) in this process. Inhibition of sperm PP1 or PKC, stimulated CaMKII phosphorylation/activation, and inhibition of PKC enhanced PP1 phosphorylation/inactivation. Inhibition of CaMKII, using KN-93, caused significant reduction in phospho-PP1, indicating its activation. Moreover, KN-93 prevented the dephosphorylation/inactivation of PKC. We therefore suggest that CaMKII inhibits PKC, leading to PP1 inhibition and the reciprocal auto-activation of CaMKII. Thus, CaMKII can regulate its own activation by inhibiting the PKC/PP1 cascade. Inhibition of Src family kinases (SFK) caused significant inhibition of CaMKII and PP1 phosphorylation, suggesting that SFK activity results in PP1 inhibition and CaMKII activation. Activation of sperm PKA by 8Br-cAMP revealed an increase in phospho-CaMKII, which was inhibited by PKA inhibitor. Tyrosine phosphorylation of PI3K was stimulated by 8Br-cAMP and by PKC or PP1 inhibition and was abrogated by CaMKII inhibition. Furthermore, phosphorylation/activation of the tyrosine kinase Pyk2 was enhanced by PP1 inhibition, and this activation is blocked by CaMKII inhibition. Thus, PKA activates Src, which inhibits PP1, leading to CaMKII and Pyk2 activation, resulting in PI3K tyrosine phosphorylation/activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


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