Extratesticular sperm maturation in the brush-tail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula.

Nicole Isaacs, M. K. Holland, W. G. Breed

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The changes in distribution of protein and sugar components in, and on, the plasmalemma of the spermatozoon during epididymal transit of a marsupial, the brush-tail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, are described. Freeze-fracture studies indicate a change in organization of plasmalemma intramembranous particles of both the head and midpiece of the tail as the spermatozoa pass from the caput to cauda epididymides. Staining with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-lectins shows, that heads of caput spermatozoa stain with Con A, WGA, RCA120, LCA and JAC, whereas those from the cauda epididymides stain only with LCA and JAC, thus suggesting that N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosamine, alpha-D-glucose, or beta-D-galactose may either become lost or masked during epididymal transit. A reduction of alpha-D-mannose is also suggested. Collectively these results show that the plasmalemma of the spermatozoon of at least this marsupial species undergoes both protein and saccharide modification during transit of the epididymis. How these findings relate to sperm maturation in preparation for sperm-egg binding has yet to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of reproduction and fertility. Supplement
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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