Cyclic adenosine 3',5' monophosphate, calcium and protein phosphorylation in flagellar motility.
cAMP and calcium are two important regulators of sperm flagellar motility. cAMP stimulates sperm motility by activating cAMP-dependent protein kinase and catalyzing the phosphorylation of sperm proteins. The stimulation of sperm motility by cAMP appears to be at two different levels. Evidence has been presented to suggest that cAMP-dependent phosphorylations may be required in order for motility to be initiated. In addition, cAMP-dependent phosphorylation appears to modulate specific parameters of motility resulting in higher beat frequency or greater wave amplitude. Calcium, on the other hand, when elevated intracellularly to 10(-6) M or higher, inhibits flagellar motility. The calcium-binding protein, calmodulin, appears to mediate a large number of effects of calcium on motility. Evidence suggests that calcium-calmodulin may be involved at the level of the membrane to pump calcium out of the flagellum. In addition, calcium-calmodulin may be involved in the control of axonemal function by regulating dynein ATPase and myosin light chain kinase activities. The identification of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, calmodulin and myosin light chain kinase in the sperm head suggests that cAMP and calcium-dependent phosphorylations are also involved in the control of the fertilization process, i.e., the acrosome reaction, in a manner similar to that known for the control of stimulus/secretion coupling. Finally, the effects of cAMP on flagellar motility are mediated by protein phosphorylation while the effects of calcium on motility are also in part, mediated by effects on protein phosphorylation.
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