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Reproduction (Cambridge, England)

Calcium-calmodulin and pH regulate protein tyrosine phosphorylation in stallion sperm.


PMID 22843772

Abstract

The mechanisms leading to capacitation in stallion sperm are poorly understood. The objective of our study was to define factors associated with regulation of protein tyrosine phosphorylation in stallion sperm. Stallion sperm were incubated for 4 h in modified Whitten's media with or without bicarbonate, calcium, or BSA. When sperm were incubated in air at 30×10⁶/ml at initial pH 7.25, protein tyrosine phosphorylation was detected only in medium containing 25 mM bicarbonate alone; calcium and BSA inhibited phosphorylation. Surprisingly, this inhibition did not occur when sperm were incubated at 10×10⁶/ml. The final pH values after incubation at 30×10⁶ and 10×10⁶ sperm/ml were 7.43 ± 0.04 and 7.83 ± 0.07 (mean ± s.e.m.) respectively. Sperm were then incubated at initial pH values of 7.25, 7.90, or 8.50 in either air or 5% CO₂. Protein tyrosine phosphorylation increased with increasing final medium pH, regardless of the addition of bicarbonate or BSA. An increase in environmental pH was observed when raw semen was instilled into the uteri of estrous mares and retrieved after 30 min (from 7.47 ± 0.10 to 7.85 ± 0.08), demonstrating a potential physiological role for pH regulation of capacitation. Sperm incubated in the presence of the calmodulin (CaM) inhibitor W-7 exhibited a dose-dependent increase in protein tyrosine phosphorylation, suggesting that the inhibitory effect of calcium was CaM mediated. These results show for the first time a major regulatory role of external pH, calcium, and CaM in stallion sperm protein tyrosine phosphorylation.

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