Particulate and soluble adenylyl cyclases participate in the sperm acrosome reaction
cAMP is important in sea urchin sperm signaling, yet the molecular nature of the adenylyl cyclases (ACs) involved remained unknown. These cells were recently shown to contain an ortholog of the mammalian soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC). Here, we show that sAC is present in the sperm head and as in mammals is stimulated by bicarbonate. The acrosome reaction (AR), a process essential for fertilization, is influenced by the bicarbonate concentration in seawater. By using functional assays and immunofluorescence techniques we document that sea urchin sperm also express orthologs of multiple isoforms of transmembrane ACs (tmACs). Our findings employing selective inhibitors for each class of AC indicate that both sAC and tmACs participate in the sperm acrosome reaction.