The capacitating agent bicarbonate/CO2 has been shown to induce profound changes in the architecture and dynamics within the sperm's plasma membrane lipid bilayer via a cAMP-dependent protein phosphorylation signaling pathway. Here we have investigated the effect of bicarbonate on surface exposure of endogenous aminophospholipids in boar spermatozoa, detecting phosphatidylserine (PS) with fluorescein-conjugated annexin V and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) with fluorescein-conjugated streptavidin/biotinylated Ro-09-0198. Flow cytometric analyses revealed that incubation with 15 mM bicarbonate induced 30%–70% of live acrosome-intact cells to expose PE very rapidly; this exposure was closely related to a decrease in lipid packing order as detected by enhanced binding of merocyanine 540. PS exposure was detectable in the same proportion of cells, though its expression was slower. Confocal microscopy revealed that exposure of aminophospholipids in intact cells was restricted to the anterior acrosomal region of the head plasma membrane. Aminophospholipid exposure, merocyanine stainability, and a subsequent migration of cholesterol to the apical region of the head plasma membrane, were all under the control of the cAMP-dependent protein phosphorylation pathway. The close coupling of decreased lipid packing order with exposure of PE led us to conclude that bicarbonate was inducing phospholipid scrambling (i.e., collapse of asymmetric transverse distribution), and that the scrambling was a prerequisite for cholesterol relocation. There was no evidence whatever that the bicarbonate-induced scrambling was an apoptotic process. It was not accompanied by major loss of viability or by DNA degeneration or by loss of mitochondrial function, and it could not be blocked by the broad-specificity caspase inhibitors zVAD-fmk and BocD-fmk. In the absence of bicarbonate, scrambling could not be induced by the apoptotic agents UV, staurosporine, or cycloheximide. Bicarbonate-induced phospholipid scrambling thus appears to be an important and early physiological event in the capacitation process.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.