[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
To evaluate perfringolysin O, a cholesterol-dependent pore-forming cytolysin, as a tool to study several aspects of human sperm physiology.
Basic research laboratory.
Human semen samples with normal parameters obtained from healthy donors.
Interaction of recombinant perfringolysin O with human spermatozoa.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Assessment of perfringolysin O binding to spermatozoa, tests for acrosome and plasma membrane integrity, and acrosomal exocytosis assays.
Perfringolysin O associated with human spermatozoa at 4°C. The binding was sensitive to changes in cholesterol concentrations and distribution occurring in the plasma membrane of these cells during capacitation. When perfringolysin O–treated sperm were incubated at 37°C, the plasma membrane became permeable, whereas the acrosome membrane remained intact. Permeabilized spermatozoa were able to respond to exocytic stimuli. The process was inhibited by proteins that interfere with membrane fusion, indicating that large molecules, including antibodies, were able to permeate into the spermatozoa.
PFO is a useful probe to assess changes in the amount and distribution of the active sterol fraction present in the sperm plasma membrane. The toxin can be used for the efficient and selective permeabilization of this membrane, rendering a flexible experimental model suitable for studying molecular processes occurring in the sperm cytoplasm.
Fertility and Sterility. 01/2013; 99(1):99–106.e2.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acrosomal exocytosis involves a massive fusion between the outer acrosomal and the plasma membranes of the spermatozoon triggered by stimuli that open calcium channels at the plasma membrane. Diacylglycerol has been implicated in the activation of these calcium channels. Here we report that this lipid promotes the efflux of intraacrosomal calcium and triggers exocytosis in permeabilized human sperm, implying that diacylglycerol activates events downstream of the opening of plasma membrane channels. Furthermore, we show that calcium and diacylglycerol converge in a signaling pathway leading to the production of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)). Addition of diacylglycerol promotes the PKC-dependent activation of PLD1. Rescue experiments adding phosphatidic acid or PIP(2) and direct measurement of lipid production suggest that both PKC and PLD1 promote PIP(2) synthesis. Inhibition of different steps of the pathway was reverted by adenophostin, an agonist of IP(3)-sensitive calcium channels, indicating that PIP(2) is necessary to keep these channels opened. However, phosphatidic acid, PIP(2), or adenophostin could not trigger exocytosis by themselves, indicating that diacylglycerol must also activate another factor. We found that diacylglycerol and phorbol ester stimulate the accumulation of the GTP-bound form of Rab3A. Together our results indicate that diacylglycerol promotes acrosomal exocytosis by i) maintaining high levels of IP(3) - an effect that depends on a positive feedback loop leading to the production of PIP(2) - and ii) stimulating the activation of Rab3A, which in turn initiates a cascade of protein interactions leading to the assembly of SNARE complexes and membrane fusion.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 05/2012; 1821(9):1186-99. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in the concentration of intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+) ]i) trigger and/or regulate principal sperm functions during fertilization, such as motility, capacitation, and the acrosome reaction (AR). Members of the large TRP channel family participate in a variety of Ca(2+) -dependent cell signaling processes. The eight TRPM channel members constitute one of the seven groups belonging to this family. Here we document using RT-PCR experiments the presence of Trpm2, 4, 7, and 8 in mouse spermatogenic cells. Trpm8 transcription is up-regulated after day 30. The localization of TRPM8 protein in mouse sperm was confirmed by immunocytochemistry and Western blots. Patch clamp recordings in testicular mouse sperm revealed TRPM8 agonist (menthol and icilin) activated currents sensitive to TRPM8 inhibitors N-(4-t-Butylphenyl)-4-(3-Chloropyridin-2-yl)tetrahydropyrazine-1(2H)-carboxamide (BCTC) and capsazepine. These findings are consistent with the presence of functional TRPM8 in mouse sperm. Furthermore, menthol induced a [Ca(2+) ]i increase and the AR in these cells, that were inhibited by capsazepine (20 µM) and BCTC (1.6 µM). Notably, the progesterone and zona pellucida-induced AR was significantly (>40%) inhibited by BCTC and capsazepine, suggesting the possible participation of TRPM8 channels in this reaction. TRPM family members present in sperm could be involved in other important signaling events, such as thermotaxis, chemotaxis, and mechanosensory transduction.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 06/2011; 226(6):1620-31. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acrosome reaction (AR), an absolute requirement for spermatozoa and egg fusion, requires the influx of Ca²(+) into the spermatozoa through voltage-dependent Ca²(+) channels and store-operated channels. Maitotoxin (MTx), a Ca²(+)-mobilizing agent, has been shown to be a potent inducer of the mouse sperm AR, with a pharmacology similar to that of the zona pellucida (ZP), possibly suggesting a common pathway for both inducers. Using recombinant human ZP3 (rhZP3), mouse ZP and two MTx channel blockers (U73122 and U73343), we investigated and compared the MTx- and ZP-induced ARs in human and mouse spermatozoa. Herein, we report that MTx induced AR and elevated intracellular Ca²(+) ([Ca²(+)](i)) in human spermatozoa, both of which were blocked by U73122 and U73343. These two compounds also inhibited the MTx-induced AR in mouse spermatozoa. In disagreement with our previous proposal, the AR triggered by rhZP3 or mouse ZP was not blocked by U73343, indicating that in human and mouse spermatozoa, the AR induction by the physiological ligands or by MTx occurred through distinct pathways. U73122, but not U73343 (inactive analogue), can block phospholipase C (PLC). Another PLC inhibitor, edelfosine, also blocked the rhZP3- and ZP-induced ARs. These findings confirmed the participation of a PLC-dependent signalling pathway in human and mouse zona protein-induced AR. Notably, edelfosine also inhibited the MTx-induced mouse sperm AR but not that of the human, suggesting that toxin-induced AR is PLC-dependent in mice and PLC-independent in humans.
Asian Journal of Andrology 01/2011; 13(1):159-65. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulated secretion is a central issue for the specific function of many cells; for instance, mammalian sperm acrosomal exocytosis is essential for egg fertilization. Sphingosine 1-phosphate is a bioactive sphingolipid that regulates crucial physiological processes. Here we report that this lipid triggers acrosomal exocytosis in human sperm by a mechanism involving a G(i)-coupled receptor. Real-time imaging showed a remarkable increase of cytosolic calcium upon activation with sphingosine 1-phosphate and pharmacological experiments indicate that the process requires extracellular calcium influx through voltage and store-operated calcium channels and efflux from intracellular stores through inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-sensitive calcium channels. Sphingosine 1-phosphate-induced exocytosis requires phospholipase C and protein kinase C activation. We investigated possible sources of the lipid. Western blot indicates that sphingosine kinase 1 is present in spermatozoa. Indirect immunofluorescence showed that phorbol ester, a potent protein kinase C activator that can also trigger acrosomal exocytosis, redistributes sphingosine kinase 1 to the acrosomal region. Functional assays showed that phorbol ester-induced exocytosis depends on the activation of sphingosine kinase 1. Furthermore, incorporation of (32)P to sphingosine demonstrates that cells treated with the phorbol ester increase their sphingosine kinase activity that yields sphingosine 1-phosphate. We present here the first evidence indicating that human spermatozoa produce sphingosine 1-phosphate when challenged with an exocytic stimulus. These observations point to a new role of sphingosine 1-phosphate in a signaling cascade that facilitates acrosome reaction providing some clues about novel lipid molecules involved in exocytosis.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2010; 285(21):16302-14. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exocytosis of the acrosome (the acrosome reaction) relies on cAMP production, assembly of a proteinaceous fusion machinery, calcium influx from the extracellular medium, and mobilization from inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-sensitive intracellular stores. Addition of cAMP to human sperm suspensions bypasses some of these requirements and elicits exocytosis in a protein kinase A- and extracellular calcium-independent manner. The relevant cAMP target is Epac, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the small GTPase Rap. We show here that a soluble adenylyl cyclase synthesizes the cAMP required for the acrosome reaction. Epac stimulates the exchange of GDP for GTP on Rap1, upstream of a phospholipase C. The Epac-selective cAMP analogue 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP induces a phospholipase C-dependent calcium mobilization in human sperm suspensions. In addition, our studies identify a novel connection between cAMP and Rab3A, a secretory granule-associated protein, revealing that the latter functions downstream of soluble adenylyl cyclase/cAMP/Epac but not of Rap1. Challenging sperm with calcium or 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP boosts the exchange of GDP for GTP on Rab3A. Recombinant Epac does not release GDP from Rab3A in vitro, suggesting that the Rab3A-GEF activation by cAMP/Epac in vivo is indirect. We propose that Epac sits at a critical point during the exocytotic cascade after which the pathway splits into two limbs, one that assembles the fusion machinery into place and another that elicits intracellular calcium release.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2009; 284(37):24825-39. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hydrocephalus with hop gait (hyh) is a recessive inheritable disease that arose spontaneously in a mouse strain. A missense mutation in the Napa gene that results in the substitution of a methionine for isoleucine at position 105 (M105I) of alphaSNAP has been detected in these animals. alphaSNAP is a ubiquitous protein that plays a key role in membrane fusion and exocytosis. In this study, we found that male hyh mice with a mild phenotype produced morphologically normal and motile sperm, but had a strongly reduced fertility. When stimulated with progesterone or A23187 (a calcium ionophore), sperm from these animals had a defective acrosome reaction. It has been reported that the M105I mutation affects the expression but not the function of the protein. Consistent with an hypomorphic phenotype, the testes and epididymides of hyh mice had low amounts of the mutated protein. In contrast, sperm had alphaSNAP levels indistinguishable from those found in wild type cells, suggesting that the mutated protein is not fully functional for acrosomal exocytosis. Corroborating this possibility, addition of recombinant wild type alphaSNAP rescued exocytosis in streptolysin O-permeabilized sperm, while the mutant protein was ineffective. Moreover, addition of recombinant alphaSNAP. M105I inhibited acrosomal exocytosis in permeabilized human and wild type mouse sperm. We conclude that the M105I mutation affects the expression and also the function of alphaSNAP, and that a fully functional alphaSNAP is necessary for acrosomal exocytosis, a key event in fertilization.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(3):e4963. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transient receptor potential channel (TRP) family includes more than 30 proteins; they participate in various Ca(2+) dependent processes. TRPs are functionally diverse involving thermal, chemical and mechanical transducers which modulate the concentration of intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)]i). Ca(2+) triggers and/or regulates principal sperm functions during fertilization such as motility, capacitation and the acrosome reaction. Nevertheless, the presence of the TRPM subfamily in sperm has not been explored.
Here we document with RT-PCR, western blot and immunocitochemistry analysis the presence of TRPM8 in human sperm. We also examined the participation of this channel in sperm function using specific agonists (menthol and temperature) and antagonists (BCTC and capsazepine). Computer-aided sperm analysis revealed that menthol did not significantly alter human sperm motility. In contrast, menthol induced the acrosome reaction in human sperm. This induction was inhibited about 70% by capsazepine (20 microM) and 80% by BCTC (1.6 microM). Activation of TRPM8 either by temperature or menthol induced [Ca(2+)]i increases in human sperm measured by fluorescence in populations or individual sperm cells, effect that was also inhibited by capsazepine (20 microM) and BCTC (1.6 microM). However, the progesterone and ZP3-induced acrosome reaction was not inhibited by capsazepine or BCTC, suggesting that TRPM8 activation triggers this process by a different signaling pathway.
This is the first report dealing with the presence of a thermo sensitive channel (TRPM8) in human sperm. This channel could be involved in cell signaling events such as thermotaxis or chemotaxis.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(6):e6095. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acrosome reaction is a regulated Ca2+-dependent secretion event required for sperm-egg interaction. Previous studies indicate that the process requires Rab3-dependent tethering of membranes, SNARE complex assembly, and Ca2+-mediated activation of synaptotagmin. Sperm are transcriptionally and translationally inactive; hence, most studies of the exocytosis mechanism are limited to membrane-permeant reagents. The effect of proteins involved in exocytosis has been assessed only in permeabilized cells. Polyarginine peptides are a powerful tool for delivering macromolecules to cells. Most reports indicate that membrane translocation of arginine-containing proteins requires endocytosis; therefore, this strategy might not be useful in sperm. However, our results indicate that GST and Rab3A, when fused with an arginine-rich peptide, were able to translocate into sperm. Moreover, membrane-permeant Rab3A initiated exocytosis when prenylated and activated with GTP. We show here that a key event after the cytoplasmic Ca2+ increase caused by progesterone is the activation of Rab3A. When active Rab3A is introduced into sperm, Ca2+ in the extracellular medium and in the cytoplasm is dispensable. However, a Ca2+ efflux from inside the acrosome is still required to achieve exocytosis. In conclusion, arginine-containing proteins can penetrate the sperm plasma membrane and thus are valuable tools to study sperm physiology in intact cells.
The FASEB Journal 01/2008; 21(14):4121-30. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulated secretion is a fundamental process underlying the function of many cell types. In particular, acrosomal exocytosis in mammalian sperm is essential for egg fertilization. Regulated secretion requires SNARE proteins and, in neurons, also synaptotagmin I and complexin. Recent reports suggest that complexin imposes a fusion block that is released by Ca(2+) and synaptotagmin I. However, no direct evidence for this model in secreting cells has been provided and whether this complexin/synaptotagmin interplay functions in other types of secretion is unknown. In this report, we show that the C2B domain of synaptotagmin VI and an anti-complexin antibody blocked the formation of trans SNARE complexes in permeabilized human sperm, and that this effect was reversed by adding complexin. In contrast, an excess of complexin stopped exocytosis at a later step, when SNAREs were assembled in loose trans complexes. Interestingly, this blockage was released by the addition of the synaptotagmin VI C2B domain in the presence of Ca(2+). We have previously demonstrated that the activity of this domain is regulated by protein kinase C-mediated phosphorylation. Here, we show that a phosphomimetic mutation in the polybasic region of the C2B domain strongly affects its Ca(2+) and phospholipids binding properties. Importantly, this mutation completely abrogates its ability to rescue the complexin block. Our results show that the functional interplay between complexin and synaptotagmin has a central role in a physiological secretion event, and that this interplay can be modulated by phosphorylation of the C2B domain.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2007; 282(36):26335-43. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dynamics of SNARE assembly and disassembly during membrane recognition and fusion is a central issue in intracellular trafficking and regulated secretion. Exocytosis of sperm's single vesicle--the acrosome--is a synchronized, all-or-nothing process that happens only once in the life of the cell and depends on activation of both the GTP-binding protein Rab3 and of neurotoxin-sensitive SNAREs. These characteristics make acrosomal exocytosis a unique mammalian model for the study of the different phases of the membrane fusion cascade. By using a functional assay and immunofluorescence techniques in combination with neurotoxins and a photosensitive Ca2+ chelator we show that, in unactivated sperm, SNAREs are locked in heterotrimeric cis complexes. Upon Ca2+ entry into the cytoplasm, Rab3 is activated and triggers NSF/alpha-SNAP-dependent disassembly of cis SNARE complexes. Monomeric SNAREs in the plasma membrane and the outer acrosomal membrane are then free to reassemble in loose trans complexes that are resistant to NSF/alpha-SNAP and differentially sensitive to cleavage by two vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP)-specific neurotoxins. Ca2+ must be released from inside the acrosome to trigger the final steps of membrane fusion that require fully assembled trans SNARE complexes and synaptotagmin. Our results indicate that the unidirectional and sequential disassembly and assembly of SNARE complexes drive acrosomal exocytosis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that synaptotagmin VI is present in human sperm cells and that a recombinant protein containing the C2A and C2B domains abrogates acrosomal exocytosis in permeabilized spermatozoa, an effect that was regulated by phosphorylation. In this report, we show that each individual C2 domain blocks acrosomal exocytosis. The inhibitory effect was completely abrogated by phosphorylation of the domains with purified PKCbetaII. We found by site-directed mutagenesis that Thr418 and/or Thr419 in the polybasic region (KKKTTIK) of the C2B domain--a key region for the function of synaptotagmins--are the PKC target that regulates its inhibitory effect on acrosomal exocytosis. Similarly, we showed that Thr284 in the polybasic region of C2A (KCKLQTR) is the target for PKC-mediated phosphorylation in this domain. An antibody that specifically binds to the phosphorylated polybasic region of the C2B domain recognized endogenous phosphorylated synaptotagmin in the sperm acrosomal region. The antibody was inhibitory only at early stages of exocytosis in sperm acrosome reaction assays, and the immunolabeling decreased upon sperm stimulation, indicating that the protein is dephosphorylated during acrosomal exocytosis. Our results indicate that acrosomal exocytosis is regulated through the PKC-mediated phosphorylation of conserved threonines in the polybasic regions of synaptotagmin VI.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acrosome is an exocytic granule that overlies the spermatozoan nucleus. In response to different stimuli, it undergoes calcium-regulated exocytosis. Freshly ejaculated mammalian sperm are not immediately capable of undergoing acrosome reaction. The acquisition of this ability is called capacitation and involves a series of still not well-characterized changes in the sperm physiology. Plasma membrane cholesterol removal is one of the sperm modifications that are associated with capacitation. However, how sterols affect acrosomal exocytosis is unknown. Here, we show that short incubations with cyclodextrin, a cholesterol removal agent, just before stimulation promote acrosomal exocytosis. Moreover, the effect was also observed in permeabilized cells stimulated with calcium, indicating that cholesterol plays a direct role in the calcium-dependent exocytosis associated with acrosome reaction. Using a photo-inhibitable calcium chelator, we show that cholesterol affects an early event of the exocytic cascade rather than the lipid bilayers mixing. Functional data indicate that one target for the cholesterol effect is Rab3A. The sterol content does not affect the Rab3A activation-deactivation cycle but regulates its membrane anchoring. Western blot analysis and immunoelectron microscopy confirmed that cholesterol efflux facilitates Rab3A association to sperm plasma membrane. Our data indicate that the cholesterol efflux occurring during capacitation optimizes the conditions for the productive assembly of the fusion machinery required for acrosome reaction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acrosome is a membrane-limited granule that overlies the nucleus of the mature spermatozoon. In response to physiological or pharmacological stimuli it undergoes a special type of Ca2+-dependent exocytosis termed the acrosome reaction (AR), which is an absolute prerequisite for fertilization. Aided by a streptolysin-O permeabilization protocol developed in our laboratory, we have previously demonstrated requirements for Rab3A, N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), several soluble NSF-attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins, and synaptotagmin VI in the human sperm AR. Here, we show that alpha-soluble NSF-attachment protein (alpha-SNAP), a protein essential for most fusion events through its interaction with NSF and the SNARE complex, exhibits a direct role in the AR. First, the presence of alpha-SNAP is demonstrated by the Western blot of human sperm protein extracts. Immunostaining experiments reveal an acrosomal localization for this protein. Second, the Ca2+ and Rab3A-triggered ARs are inhibited by anti-alpha-SNAP antibodies. Third, bacterially expressed alpha-SNAP abolishes exocytosis in a fashion that depends on its interaction with NSF. Fourth, we show a requirement for alpha-SNAP/NSF in a prefusion step early in the exocytotic pathway, after the tethering of the acrosome to the plasma membrane and before the efflux of intra-acrosomal Ca2+. These results suggest a key role for alpha-SNAP/NSF in the AR, and strengthen our understanding of the molecular players involved in the vesicle-to-plasma membrane fusion taking place during exocytosis.
Molecular Human Reproduction 02/2005; 11(1):43-51. · 4.54 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acrosome is a membrane-limited granule that overlies the nucleus of the mature spermatozoon. In response to physiological or pharmacological stimuli, sperm undergo calcium-dependent exocytosis termed the acrosome reaction, which is an absolute prerequisite for fertilization. Protein tyrosine phosphorylation and dephosphorylation are a mechanisms by which multiple cellular events are regulated. Here we report that calcium induces tyrosine phosphorylation in streptolysin O (SLO)-permeabilized human sperm. As expected, pretreatment with tyrphostin A47-a tyrosine kinase inhibitor-abolishes the calcium effect. Interestingly, the calcium-induced increase in tyrosine phosphorylation has a functional correlate in sperm exocytosis. Masking of phosphotyrosyl groups with a specific antibody or inhibition of tyrosine kinases with genistein, tyrphostin A47, and tyrphostin A51 prevent the acrosome reaction. By reversibly sequestering intra-acrosomal calcium with a photo-inhibitable chelator, we show a requirement for protein tyrosine phosphorylation late in the exocytotic pathway, after the efflux of intra-acrosomal calcium. Both mouse and human sperm contain highly active tyrosine phosphatases. Importantly, this activity declines when sperm are incubated under capacitating conditions. Inhibition of tyrosine phosphatases with pervanadate, bis(N,N-dimethylhydroxoamido)hydroxovanadate, ethyl-3,4-dephostatin, and phenylarsine oxide prevents the acrosome reaction. Our results show that both tyrosine kinases and phosphatases play a central role in sperm exocytosis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acrosome reaction is a unique type of regulated exocytosis. The single secretory granule of the sperm fuses at multiple points with the overlying plasma membrane. In the past few years we have characterized several aspects of this process using streptolysin O-permeabilized human spermatozoa. Here we show that Rab3A triggers acrosomal exocytosis in the virtual absence of calcium in the cytosolic compartment. Interestingly, exocytosis is blocked when calcium is depleted from intracellular stores. By using a membrane-permeant fluorescent calcium probe, we observed that the acrosome actually behaves as a calcium store. Depleting calcium from this compartment by using a light-sensitive chelator prevents secretion promoted by Rab3A. UV inactivation of the chelator restores exocytosis. Rab3A-triggered exocytosis is blocked by calcium pump and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3))-sensitive calcium channel inhibitors. Calcium measurements inside and outside the acrosome showed that Rab3A promotes a calcium efflux from the granule. Interestingly, release of calcium through IP(3)-sensitive calcium channels was necessary even when exocytosis was initiated by increasing free calcium in the extraacrosomal compartment in both permeabilized and intact spermatozoa. Our results show that a calcium efflux from the acrosome through IP(3)-sensitive channels is necessary downstream Rab3A activation during the membrane fusion process leading to acrosomal exocytosis.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2003; 277(51):49326-31. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interaction between Rab3A and calmodulin is necessary for the inhibitory effect of Rab3A in neuroendocrine cells. Contrastingly, Rab3A triggers the exocytosis known as acrosome reaction in permeabilized spermatozoa. Here we show that a Rab3A mutant that cannot bind calmodulin was fully capable of triggering acrosomal exocytosis. Additionally, calmodulin by itself abrogated the exocytosis triggered by Rab3A. The effect was observed with both the wild type protein and the calmodulin binding deficient mutant. Our results indicate that the inhibitory and stimulatory effects of Rab3A in different exocytic processes are mediated by different effectors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exocytosis of the acrosome (the acrosome reaction) is a terminal morphological alteration that sperm must undergo prior to penetration of the extracellular coat of the egg. Ca(2+) is an essential mediator of this regulated secretory event. Aided by a streptolysin-O permeabilization protocol developed in our laboratory, we have previously demonstrated requirements for Rab3A, NSF, and synaptotagmin VI in the human sperm acrosome reaction. Interestingly, Rab3A elicits an exocytotic response of comparable magnitude to that of Ca(2+). Here, we report a direct role for the SNARE complex in the acrosome reaction. First, the presence of SNARE proteins is demonstrated by Western blot. Second, the Ca(2+)-triggered acrosome reaction is inhibited by botulinum neurotoxins BoNT/A, -E, -C, and -F. Third, antibody inhibition studies show a requirement for SNAP-25, SNAP-23, syntaxins 1A, 1B, 4, and 6, and VAMP 2. Fourth, addition of bacterially expressed SNAP-25 and SNAP-23 abolishes exocytosis. Acrosome reaction elicited by Rab3-GTP is also inhibited by BoNT/A, -C, and -F. Taken together, these results demonstrate a requirement for members of all SNARE protein families in the Ca(2+)- and Rab3A-triggered acrosome reaction. Furthermore, they indicate that the onset of sperm exocytosis relies on the functional assembly of SNARE complexes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acrosomal exocytosis is a calcium-dependent secretion event causing the release of the acrosomal contents and the loss of the membranes surrounding the acrosome. The synaptotagmins are a family of calcium-binding proteins that participate in the exocytosis of synaptic vesicles. The ubiquitous synaptotagmin VI isoform was found in human sperm cells by Western blot analysis. Immunocytochemistry at the optical and electron microscopy levels localized the protein to the outer acrosomal membrane. Calcium-triggered acrosomal exocytosis in permeabilized sperm cells was abrogated by a specific anti-synaptotagmin VI antibody, indicating that the protein is required for the process. Moreover, a recombinant fusion protein between glutathione S-transferase and the two calcium and phospholipid binding domains of synaptotagmin VI completely inhibited calcium-triggered exocytosis. Interestingly, phorbol ester-dependent in vitro phosphorylation of this recombinant protein abolished its inhibitory effect. We previously showed that, in permeabilized spermatozoa, addition of active Rab3A triggers acrosomal exocytosis at very low calcium concentration. Rab3A-promoted exocytosis was inhibited by the cytosolic domain of synaptotagmin VI and by the anti-synaptotagmin VI antibody, indicating that synaptotagmin is also necessary for Rab-mediated acrosomal content release. In conclusion, the results strongly indicate that synaptotagmin VI is a key component of the secretory machinery involved in acrosomal exocytosis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acrosome reaction of spermatozoa is a complex, calcium-dependent, regulated exocytosis. Fusion at multiple sites between the outer acrosomal membrane and the cell membrane causes the release of the acrosomal contents and the loss of the membranes surrounding the acrosome. However, very little is known about the molecules that mediate and regulate this unique fusion process. Here, we show that N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), a protein essential for most fusion events, is present in the acrosome of several mammalian spermatozoa. Moreover, we demonstrate that calcium-dependent exocytosis of permeabilized sperm requires active NSF. Previously, we have shown that the addition of the active (GTP-bound) form of the small GTPase Rab3A triggers exocytosis in permeabilized spermatozoa. In the present report we show that Rab3A is necessary for calcium-dependent exocytosis. The activation of Rab3A protects NSF from N-ethylmaleimide inhibition and precludes the exchange of the endogenous protein with recombinant dominant negative mutants of NSF. Furthermore, Rab3A activation of acrosomal exocytosis requires active NSF. Our results suggest that, upon calcium stimulation, Rab3A switches to its active GTP-bound form, triggering the formation of a protein complex in which NSF is protected. This process is suggested to be an essential part of the molecular mechanism of membrane fusion leading to the release of the acrosomal contents.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2000; 97(18):9996-10001. · 9.74 Impact Factor