Using rapid amplification of cDNA ends, a cDNA encoding a novel splice variant of the human Cα catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) was identified. The novel isoform differed only in the N-terminal part of the deduced amino acid sequence, corresponding to the part encoded by exon 1 in the previously characterized murine Cα gene. Sequence comparison revealed similarity to an ovine Cα variant characterized by protein purification and micropeptide sequencing, Cα-s, identifying the cloned human cDNA as the Cα-s isoform. The Cα-s mRNA was expressed exclusively in human testis and expression in isolated human pachytene spermatocytes was demonstrated. The Cα-s protein was present in ejaculated human sperm, and immunofluorescent labeling with a Cα-s-specific antibody indicated that Cα-s was localized in the midpiece region of the spermatozoon. The majority of Cα-s was particulate and could not be released from the sperm midpiece by cAMP treatment alone. Furthermore, detergent extraction solubilized approximately two-thirds of the Cα-s pool, indicating interaction both with detergent-resistant cytoskeletal and membrane structures. In addition, we recently identified the regulatory subunit isoforms RIα, RIIα, and an A-kinase anchoring protein, hAKAP220 in this region in sperm that could target Cα-s. This novel Cα-s splice variant appeared to have an independent anchor in the human sperm midpiece as it could not be completely solubilized even in the presence of both detergent and cAMP.
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