Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biol Chem. 1999 Jan 29;274(5):3235-42.

Cholesterol efflux-mediated signal transduction in mammalian sperm. beta-cyclodextrins initiate transmembrane signaling leading to an increase in protein tyrosine phosphorylation and capacitation.

Author information

  • 1Center for Research on Reproduction & Women's Health, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6080, USA.


Sperm capacitation in vitro is highly correlated with an increase in protein tyrosine phosphorylation that is regulated by cAMP through a unique mode of signal transduction cross-talk. The activation of this signaling pathway, as well as capacitation, requires bovine serum albumin (BSA) in the incubation medium. BSA is hypothesized to modulate capacitation through its ability to remove cholesterol from the sperm plasma membrane. Here we demonstrate that the cholesterol-binding heptasaccharides, methyl-beta-cyclodextrin and OH-propyl-beta-cyclodextrin, promote the release of cholesterol from the mouse sperm plasma membrane in media devoid of BSA. Both of these beta-cyclodextrins were also demonstrated to increase protein tyrosine phosphorylation in the absence of BSA in both mouse and bull sperm, and the patterns of phosphorylation were similar to those induced by media containing BSA. The potency of the different beta-cyclodextrins to increase protein tyrosine phosphorylation in sperm was correlated with their cholesterol binding efficiencies, and preincubation of the beta-cyclodextrins with cholesterol-SO4- to saturate their cholesterol-binding sites blocked the ability of these compounds to stimulate protein tyrosine phosphorylation. The beta-cyclodextrin effect on protein tyrosine phosphorylation was both NaHCO3 and protein kinase A-dependent. The beta-cyclodextrins were also able to capacitate mouse sperm in the absence of BSA, as measured by the ability of the zona pellucida to induce the acrosome reaction and by successful fertilization in vitro. In summary, beta-cyclodextrins can completely replace BSA in media to support signal transduction leading to capacitation. These data further support the coupling of cholesterol efflux to the activation of membrane and transmembrane signaling events leading to the activation of a unique signaling pathway involving the cross-talk between cAMP and tyrosine kinase second messenger systems, thus defining a new mode of cellular signal transduction initiated by cholesterol release.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center