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Spermatogenesis. 2011 Apr;1(2):95-98.

Acrosome biogenesis: Revisiting old questions to yield new insights.

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Department of Biology; Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology of Reproduction; University of Milan; Milan, Italy.


The acrosome is a unique membranous organelle located over the anterior part of the sperm nucleus that is highly conserved throughout evolution. This acidic vacuole contains a number of hydrolytic enzymes that, when secreted, help the sperm penetrate the egg's coats. Although acrosome biogenesis is an important aspect of spermiogenesis, the molecular mechanism(s) that regulates this event remains unknown. Active trafficking from the Golgi apparatus is involved in acrosome formation, but experimental evidence indicates that trafficking of vesicles out of the Golgi also occurs during acrosomogenesis. Unfortunately, this second aspect of acrosome biogenesis remains poorly studied. In this article, we briefly discuss how the biosynthetic and endocytic pathways, assisted by a network of microtubules, tethering factors, motor proteins and small GTPases, relate and connect to give rise to the sperm-specific vacuole, with a particular emphasis placed on the endosomal compartment. It is hoped that this information will be useful to engage more studies on acrosome biogenesis by focusing attention towards suggested directions.

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