CDC42 drives RHOA activity and actin polymerization during capacitation

in Reproduction

Correspondence should be addressed to E O Hernández-González; Email: eoton@cell.cinvestav.mx
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Mammalian sperm cells acquire fertilizing capacity as a result of a process termed capacitation. Actin polymerization is important for capacitation; inhibiting actin polymerization prevents the adhesion and fusion of the sperm with the ovule. The main function of RHO proteins CDC42 and RHOA is to direct actin polymerization. Although these two RHO proteins are present in mammalian sperm, little is known about their role in capacitation, the acrosome reaction, and the way in which they direct actin polymerization. The purpose of this study was to determine the participation of CDC42 and RHOA in capacitation and the acrosome reaction and their relationship with actin polymerization using guinea pig sperm. Our results show that the inhibition of CDC42 and RHOA alters the kinetics of actin polymerization, capacitation, and the acrosome reaction in different ways. Our results also show that the initiation of actin polymerization and RHOA activation depend on the activation of CDC42 and that RHOA starts its activity and effect on actin polymerization when CDC42 reaches its maximum activity. Given that the inhibition of ROCK1 failed to prevent the acrosomal reaction, the participation of RHOA in capacitation and the acrosomal reaction is independent of its kinase 1 (ROCK1). In general, our results indicate that CDC42 and RHOA have different roles in capacitation and acrosomal reaction processes and that CDC42 plays a preeminent role.

 

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