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Role of the cytoskeleton in sperm entry during fertilization in the freshwater bivalve Dreissena polymorpha
Misamore, M.J.; Lynn, J.W. (2000). Role of the cytoskeleton in sperm entry during fertilization in the freshwater bivalve Dreissena polymorpha. Biol. Bull. 199: 144-156
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster. ISSN 0006-3185, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Fresh water

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  • Misamore, M.J.
  • Lynn, J.W.

    The present study examined the role of the cytoskeleton in sperm entry and migration through the egg cytoplasm during fertilization in the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Bivalvia: Veneroida: Dreissenidae). Fertilization in this freshwater bivalve occurs outside the mantle cavity, permitting detailed observations of fertilization. After its initial binding to the egg surface, the sperm is incorporated in two stages: (1) a gradual incorporation of the sperm nucleus into the egg cortex, followed by (2) a more rapid incorporation of the sperm axoneme, and translocation of the sperm head through the egg cytoplasm. Initial incorporation into the egg cortex was shown to be microfilament dependent. Microfilaments were found in the sperm’s preformed acrosomal filament, the microvilli on the egg surface, and in an actin-filled insemination cone surrounding the incorporating sperm. Treatment of eggs with cytochalasin B inhibited sperm entry in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Microtubule polymerization was not necessary for initial sperm entry. Following incorporation of the sperm head, the flagellar axoneme entered the egg cytoplasm and remained active for several minutes. Associated with the incorporated axoneme was a flow of cytoplasmic particles originating near the proximal end of the flagella. Inhibition of microtubule polymerization prevented entry of the sperm axoneme, and the subsequent cytoplasmic current was not observed. After sperm incorporation into the egg cortex, no appreciable microfilaments were associated with the sperm nucleus. A diminutive sperm aster was associated with the sperm nucleus during its decondensation, but no obvious extension toward the female pronucleus was observed. The sperm aster was significantly smaller than the spindle associated with the female pronucleus, suggesting a reduced role for the sperm aster in amphimixis.

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