Regulation of Sperm Capacitation and the Acrosome Reaction by PIP2 and Actin Modulation

Haim Breitbart, Maya Finkelstein

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28 Scopus citations


Actin polymerization and development of hyperactivated (HA) motility are two processes that take place during sperm capacitation. Actin polymerization occurs during capacitation and prior to the acrosome reaction, fast F-actin breakdown takes place. The increase in F-actin during capacitation depends upon inactivation of the actin severing protein, gelsolin, by its binding to phosphatydilinositol-4, 5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and its phosphorylation on tyrosine-438 by Src. Activation of gelsolin following its release from PIP2 is known to cause F-actin breakdown and inhibition of sperm motility, which can be restored by adding PIP2 to the cells. Reduction of PIP2 synthesis inhibits actin polymerization and motility, while increasing PIP2 synthesis enhances these activities. Furthermore, sperm demonstrating low motility contained low levels of PIP2 and F-actin. During capacitation there was an increase in PIP2 and F-actin levels in the sperm head and a decrease in the tail. In spermatozoa with high motility, gelsolin was mainly localized to the sperm head before capacitation, whereas in low motility sperm, most of the gelsolin was localized to the tail before capacitation and translocated to the head during capacitation. We also showed that phosphorylation of gelsolin on tyrosine-438 depends upon its binding to PIP2. Stimulation of phospholipase C, by Ca2+ -ionophore or by activating the epidermal-growth-factor-receptor, inhibits tyrosine phosphorylation of gelsolin and enhances enzyme activity. In conclusion, these data indicate that the increase of PIP2 and/or F-actin in the head during capacitation enhances gelsolin translocation to the head. As a result, the decrease of gelsolin in the tail allows the maintenance of high levels of F-actin in this structure, which is essential for the development of HA motility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-600
Number of pages4
JournalAsian Journal of Andrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2015

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© 2015 AJA, SIMM & SJTU. All rights reserved.


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