Assembly of the fluorescent acrosomal matrix and its fate in fertilization in the water strider, Aquarius remigis



Animal sperm show remarkable diversity in both morphology and molecular composition. Here we provide the first report of intense intrinsic fluorescence in an animal sperm. The sperm from a semi-aquatic insect, the water strider, Aquarius remigis, contains an intrinsically fluorescent molecule with properties consistent with those of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), which appears first in the acrosomal vesicle of round spermatids and persists in the acrosome throughout spermiogenesis. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching reveals that the fluorescent molecule exhibits unrestricted mobility in the acrosomal vesicle of round spermatids but is completely immobile in the acrosome of mature sperm. Fluorescence polarization microscopy shows a net alignment of the fluorescent molecules in the acrosome of the mature sperm but not in the acrosomal vesicle of round spermatids. These results suggest that acrosomal molecules are rearranged in the elongating acrosome and FAD is incorporated into the acrosomal matrix during its formation. Further, we followed the fate of the acrosomal matrix in fertilization utilizing the intrinsic fluorescence. The fluorescent acrosomal matrix was observed inside the fertilized egg and remained structurally intact even after gastrulation started. This observation suggests that FAD is not released from the acrosomal matrix during the fertilization process or early development and supports an idea that FAD is involved in the formation of the acrosomal matrix. The intrinsic fluorescence of the A. remigis acrosome will be a useful marker for following spermatogenesis and fertilization. J. Cell. Physiol. 226: 999–1006, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.