The Fer tyrosine kinase protects sperm from spontaneous acrosome reaction

Elina Grinshtain, Sally Shpungin, Micha Baum, Uri Nir, Haim Breitbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The physiological acrosome reaction occurs after mammalian spermatozoa undergo a process called capacitation in the female reproductive tract. Only acrosome reacted spermatozoon can penetrate the egg zona-pellucida and fertilize the egg. Sperm also contain several mechanisms that protect it from undergoing spontaneous acrosome reaction (sAR), a process that can occur in sperm before reaching proximity to the egg and that abrogates fertilization. We previously showed that calmodulin-kinase II (CaMKII) and phospholipase D (PLD) are involved in preventing sAR through two distinct pathways that enhance F-actin formation during capacitation. Here, we describe a novel additional pathway involving the tyrosine kinase Fer in a mechanism that also prevents sAR by enhancing actin polymerization during sperm capacitation. We further show that protein-kinase A (PKA) and the tyrosine-kinase Src, as well as PLD, direct Fer phosphorylation/activation. Activated Fer inhibits the Ser/Thr phosphatase PP1, thereby leading to CaMKII activation, actin polymerization, and sAR inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by IHEL and Kalb Foundations to U.N.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Acrosome reaction
  • Actin
  • Fer
  • Spermatozoa


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