Biology of reproduction

Zona pellucida induces activation of phospholipase A2 during acrosomal exocytosis in guinea pig spermatozoa.

PMID 12604641


Phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) is activated in spermatozoa in response to progesterone and Ca(2+) ionophores, but to our knowledge, no study has yet reported zona pellucida (ZP)-induced activation of PLA(2). We investigated whether PLA(2) is involved in ZP-stimulated acrosomal exocytosis, if Ca(2+) is required for activation of PLA(2), and signal transduction pathways modulating PLA(2) using guinea pig sperm as a model. Spermatozoa were capacitated and labeled in low-Ca(2+) medium with [(14)C]choline chloride or [(14)C]arachidonic acid and were then exposed to millimolar Ca(2+) and various reagents and stimulated with ZP. Precapacitated spermatozoa exposed to millimolar Ca(2+) and stimulated with ZP experienced increases in arachidonic acid (AA) and lysophosphatidylcholine (lysoPC) levels and a parallel decrease in phosphatidylcholine level; these changes are indicative of PLA(2) activation. Simulation with ZP also led to acrosomal exocytosis in a high proportion of spermatozoa. Lipid changes and exocytosis were prevented if spermatozoa were exposed to aristolochic acid, a PLA(2) inhibitor, before treatment with ZP. Stimulation with ZP in medium without added Ca(2+) or in medium with millimolar Ca(2+) and EGTA or La(3+) resulted in no lipid changes or exocytosis. Pretreatment with pertussis toxin, a G(i) protein inhibitor, before stimulation with ZP blocked the release of AA and lysoPC as well as acrosomal exocytosis. Exposure of spermatozoa to the diacylglycerol (DAG) kinase inhibitor R59022 before ZP stimulation led to a significant increase in generation of lysoPC and exocytosis. Taken together, these results indicate very strongly that PLA(2) plays an essential role in ZP-induced exocytosis in spermatozoa, that PLA(2) activation requires Ca(2+) internalization, and that PLA(2) activation is regulated by signal transduction pathways involving G proteins and DAG.

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Diacylglycerol Kinase Inhibitor I, solid