In somatic cells, RHOA mediates actin dynamics through a GNA13-mediated signaling cascade involving RHO kinase (ROCK), LIM kinase (LIMK), and cofilin. RHOA can be negatively regulated by protein kinase A (PRKA), and it interacts with members of the A-kinase anchoring (AKAP) family via intermediary proteins. In spermatozoa, actin polymerization precedes the acrosome reaction, which is necessary for normal fertility. The present study was undertaken to determine whether the GNA13-mediated RHOA signaling pathway may be involved in acrosome reaction in bovine caudal sperm, and whether AKAPs may be involved in its targeting and regulation. GNA13, RHOA, ROCK2, LIMK2, and cofilin were all detected by Western blot in bovine caudal sperm. Overlay, immunoprecipitation, and subsequent mass spectrometry analysis identified several RHOA-interacting proteins, including proacrosin, angiotensin-converting enzyme, tubulin, aldolase C, and AKAP4. Using overlay and pulldown techniques, we demonstrate that phosphorylation of AKAP3 increases its interaction with the RHOA-interacting proteins PRKAR2 (the type II regulatory subunit of PRKA, formerly RII) and ropporin (ROPN1, a PRKAR2-like protein, or R2D2). Varying calcium concentrations in pulldown assays did not significantly alter binding to R2D2 proteins. These data suggest that the actin-regulating GNA13-mediated RHOA-ROCK-LIMK-cofilin pathway is present in bovine spermatozoa, that RHOA interacts with proteins involved in capacitation and the acrosome reaction, and that RHOA signaling in sperm may be targeted by AKAPs. Finally, AKAP3 binding to PRKAR2 and ROPN1 is regulated by phosphorylation in vitro.
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Vol. 78 • No. 1