PKA and PI3K activities during capacitation protect sperm from undergoing spontaneous acrosome reaction

Elina Tsirulnikov, Yair Huta, Haim Breitbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to fertilize the egg, the spermatozoon should undergo a process called acrosomal exocytosis or acrosome reaction (AR), a process which can take place only after a series of biochemical changes collectively called capacitation occur in the female reproductive tract. We present here for the first time the involvement of protein-kinase A (PKA) and phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinase (PI3K) in protecting sperm from undergoing spontaneous AR (sAR) which decreases fertilization rate. Previously we showed that Calmodulin-kinase II (CaMKII) and phospholipase-D (PLD) prevent the occurrence of sAR in two distinct pathways by enhancing actin polymerization. Here we show that PKA mediates PLD activation, and inhibition of PKA resulting in an increase of sAR and a decrease of F-actin levels, two functions which can be recovered by adding phosphatidic acid (PA), the product of PLD activity. PKA is known to induce CaMKII activation. Inhibition of CaMKII, also enhanced sAR and reduced F-actin levels which can be recovered by adding PA. Inhibition of the PLD pathway resulted in an increase in sAR and a decrease in F-actin levels which can be artificially reversed by inhibition of protein - phosphatase 1 (PP1), and this effect is mediated by PI3K. All together, we showed that PKA via PLD and PI3K activation protects the sperm from undergoing sAR by enhancing actin polymerization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Acrosome reaction
  • Actin polymerization
  • Capacitation
  • PI3K
  • PKA
  • Spermatozoa


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