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Premeiotic transformation of germ plasm-related structures during the sea urchin spermatogenesis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2011

Arkadiy A. Reunov*
Department of Embryology, A.V. Zhirmunsky Institute of Marine Biology, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, 17 Paltchevsky Street, Vladivostok 600041, Russia.
All correspondence to: A.A. Reunov. Department of Embryology, A.V. Zhirmunsky Institute of Marine Biology, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, 17 Paltchevsky Street, Vladivostok 600041, Russia. E-mail:


The germ plasm-related structures (GPRS) and the transformation that occurs to them during the spermatogenesis of the sea urchin Anthocidaris crassispina were studied by electron microscopy and morphometry. The GPRS were observed in spermatogonia and spermatocytes, but not in spermatids and sperm, which suggests an important role for these structures during the onset of meiosis. It was proposed that the germinal granules are fragmented into the compact electron-dense nuage, and fragments of the latter penetrate into the periphery of the compact electron-lucent nuage. The process of nuage integration is completed with the formation of the combined nuage, which aggregates some mitochondria into clusters. Once formed, the mitochondrial clusters undergo dissemination and assume the appearance of the dispersed nuage with mitochondrial derivatives, which in turn develops into the scattered nuage. The scattered nuage, which presumably presents the composite mixture saturated with mitochondrial matrix, terminates the GPRS transformation.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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