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J Androl. 2011 Jul-Aug;32(4):411-9. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.110.011122. Epub 2010 Dec 2.

The acrosomal matrix from guinea pig sperm contains structural proteins, suggesting the presence of an actin skeleton.

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Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México.


The mammalian sperm acrosome contains a large number of hydrolytic enzymes. When the acrosomal reaction and fertilization occur, these enzymes are released in an orderly fashion, suggesting that the acrosomal matrix is highly organized. It was decided to determine the identity of the structural scaffold underlying the organization of the acrosome. In permeabilized acrosomes and in the Triton X-100-extracted acrosomal matrices from guinea pig sperm, we used indirect immunofluorescence, immunogold labeling, and Western blotting to identify F-actin, spectrin, myosin, calmodulin, and gelsolin. These proteins were detected in the acrosomal matrix for the first time. In noncapacitated, intact spermatozoa the addition of the F-actin monomerizing agent cytochalasin D resulted in loss of the acrosome, suggesting that F-actin is needed to preserve an intact acrosome. Our results suggest that the acrosomal architecture is supported by a dynamic F-actin skeleton, which probably regulates the differential rate of release of the acrosomal enzymes during acrosomal reaction and fertilization.

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