The association between CDC42 and caveolin-1 is involved in the regulation of capacitation and acrosome reaction of guinea pig and mouse sperm.
ABSTRACT In the mammalian sperm, the acrosome reaction (AR) is considered to be a regulated secretion that is an essential requirement for physiological fertilization. The AR is the all-or-nothing secretion system that allows for multiple membrane fusion events. It is a Ca(2)(+)-regulated exocytosis reaction that has also been shown to be regulated by several signaling pathways. CDC42 has a central role in the regulated exocytosis through the activation of SNARE proteins and actin polymerization. Furthermore, the lipid raft protein caveolin-1 (CAV1) functions as a scaffold and guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor protein for CDC42, which is inactivated when associated with CAV1. CDC42 and other RHO proteins have been shown to localize in the acrosome region of mammalian sperm; however, their relationship with the AR is unknown. Here, we present the first evidence that CDC42 and CAV1 could be involved in the regulation of capacitation and the AR. Our findings show that CDC42 is activated early during capacitation, reaching an activation maximum after 20 min of capacitation. Spontaneous and progesterone-induced ARs were inhibited when sperm were capacitated in presence of secramine A, a specific CDC42 inhibitor. CAV1 and CDC42 were co-immunoprecipitated from the membranes of noncapacitated sperm; this association was reduced in capacitated sperm, and our data suggest that the phosphorylation (Tyr14) of CAV1 by c-Src is involved in such reductions. We suggest that CDC42 activation is favored by the disruption of the CAV1-CDC42 interaction, allowing for its participation in the regulation of capacitation and the AR.