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Sperm-egg interaction in an Australian dasyurid marsupial with special refernce to changes in acrosomal morphology

  • W.G Breed (a1)


The morphology of the acrosome of spermatozoa an Australian daysyurid marsupial during in vivo fertilisation, as seen with the tranamission electron microscope, is described. In some spermatozoa close to the outer zona surface with largely intact acrosomes, eletron-demse struts between the inner and outer acrosomal membranes could be seen; in addition fusion between the outer acrosomal and overlying plasma membranes was sometimes evident. The zona matrix close to the acrosomal region of spermatozoa with heads party embedded within the zona pellucida was less electron-dense and more filamentous than elsewhere; perhaps indicative of local lytic activety. Nevertheless some of these spermatozoa at least had partly intact acrosomes with local regions of electron-dense bridges between the two acrosomal membranes. Spermatozoa with condensed chomatin were also observed within the egg cytoplsam some of which had membranes, vacuoles or close to the dorsal nuclear surface which could, in part, be acrosomal in orgin. These observations lend some support to the recent view, based on findings from an American species, that acrosomal changes of spermatozoa of some marsupials at the of fertillsation may be somewhat similar to those of eutherian mamals in spite of the considerable differences in gamete structure and design. How generally applicable these findings are to all marsupials remains, however, to be determined.


Corresponding author

Dr W.G. Breed, Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia. Tel: 61-8-303-5743. Fax: 61-8-223-2076.


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Sperm-egg interaction in an Australian dasyurid marsupial with special refernce to changes in acrosomal morphology

  • W.G Breed (a1)


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