Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Reprod Dev. 2016 Oct;83(10):897-911. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22653.

A mosquito sperm's journey from male ejaculate to egg: Mechanisms, molecules, and methods for exploration.

Author information

Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.


The fate of mosquito sperm in the female reproductive tract has been addressed sporadically and incompletely, resulting in significant gaps in our understanding of sperm-female interactions that ultimately lead to fertilization. As with other Diptera, mosquito sperm have a complex journey to their ultimate destination, the egg. After copulation, sperm spend a short time at the site of insemination where they are hyperactivated and quickly congregate near the entrance of the spermathecal ducts. Within minutes, they travel up the narrow ducts to the spermathecae, likely through the combined efforts of female transport and sperm locomotion. The female nourishes sperm and maintains them in these permanent storage organs for her entire life. When she is ready, the female coordinates the release of sperm with ovulation, and the descending egg is fertilized. Although this process has been well studied via microscopy, many questions remain regarding the molecular processes that coordinate sperm motility, movement through the reproductive tract, maintenance, and usage. In this review, we describe the current understanding of a mosquito sperm's journey to the egg, highlighting gaps in our knowledge of mosquito reproductive biology. Where insufficient information is available in mosquitoes, we describe analogous processes in other organisms, such as Drosophila melanogaster, as a basis for comparison, and we suggest future areas of research that will illuminate how sperm successfully traverse the female reproductive tract. Such studies may yield molecular targets that could be manipulated to control populations of vector species. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 83: 897-911, 2016 © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center