Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1991;20(3):228-41.

Centripetal flow and directed reassembly of the major sperm protein (MSP) cytoskeleton in the amoeboid sperm of the nematode, Ascaris suum.

Author information

Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306.


The cytoskeleton of the amoeboid spermatozoa of Ascaris suum consists of major sperm protein (MSP) filaments arranged into long, branched fiber complexes that span the length of the pseudopod and treadmill rearward continuously due to assembly and disassembly at opposite ends of the complexes (Sepsenwol et al., Journal of Cell Biology 108:55-66, (1989)). Examination by video-enhanced microscopy showed that this cytoskeletal flow is tightly coupled to sperm locomotion. The fiber complexes treadmilled rearward at the same rate (10-50 microns/min) as the cell crawled forward. Only fiber complexes with their plasmalemmal ends within a limited sector along the leading edge of the pseudopod underwent continuous assembly. Thus, the location of this sector, which occupies about 50% of the pseudopod perimeter, determined the direction of sperm locomotion. Treatment of sperm with agents that lower intracellular pH, such as weak acids and protonophores, caused the fiber complexes to disassemble completely in 4-5 sec. Removal of these compounds resulted in reassembly of the cytoskeleton in a pattern that mimicked treadmilling in intact sperm. The fiber complexes were reconstructed by assembly at their plasmalemmal ends so that within 30-60 sec the entire filament system reformed and the cell resumed locomotion. Both cytoskeletal reassembly and treadmilling required exogenous HCO3-. These results suggest that variation in intracellular pH may help regulate cytoskeletal treadmilling and thereby play a significant role in sperm locomotion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center