Molecular mechanisms involved in sperm motility initiation in two sparids (Sparus aurata and Lithognathus mormyrus) have been studied. Our comparative study demonstrates that osmolality is the key signal in sperm motility activation in both species, whereas K and Ca2 do not have any role. The straight-line velocity that resulted, however, was significantly different when measured in sperm activated with non-ionic and/or calcium-free solutions with respect to that measured in seawater-activated sperm. In both species, motility initiation depends on cAMP-dependent protein phosphorylation. The phosphorylation/dephosphorylation patterns that resulted in gilthead and striped sea bream were quite different. In gilthead sea bream, the phosphorylated proteins have molecular weights of 174, 147, 138, 70, and 9-15 kDa, whereas the dephosphorylated proteins have molecular weights of 76, 57, and 33 kDa. In striped sea bream, phosphorylation after sperm motility activation occurred on proteins of 174, 147, 103, 96, 61, 57, and 28 kDa, whereas only one protein of 70 kDa resulted from dephosphorylation. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight analyses allowed identification of the following proteins: In gilthead sea bream, the 9-15 kDa proteins that were phosphorylated after motility activation include an A-kinase anchor protein (AKAP), an acetyl-coenzyme A synthetase, and a protein phosphatase inhibitor, and in striped sea bream, 103- and 61-kDa proteins that were phosphorylated after motility activation were identified as a phosphatase (myotubularin-related protein 1) and a kinase (DYRK3), respectively.
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Vol. 79 • No. 2