The spermatogenesis and sperm structure of Acerentomon microrhinus (Protura, Hexapoda) with considerations on the phylogenetic position of the taxon
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- Dallai, R., Mercati, D., Bu, Y. et al. Zoomorphology (2010) 129: 61. doi:10.1007/s00435-009-0100-1
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The spermatogenesis of the proturan Acerentomon microrhinus Berlese, (Redia 6:1–182, 1909) is described for the first time with the aim of comparing the ultrastructure of the flagellated sperm of members of this taxon with that of the supposedly related group, Collembola. The apical region of testes consists of a series of large cells with giant polymorphic nuclei and several centrosomes with 14 microtubule doublets, whose origin is likely a template of a conventional 9-doublet centriole. Beneath this region, there are spermatogonial cells, whose centrosome has two centrioles, both with 14 microtubule doublets; the daughter centriole of the pair has an axial cylinder. Slender parietal cells in the testes have centrioles with nine doublet microtubules. Spermatocytes produce short primary cilia with 14 microtubule doublets. Spermatids have a single basal body with 14 microtubule doublets. Anteriorly, a conical dense material is present, surrounded by a microtubular basket, which can be seen by using an α-anti-tubulin antibody. Behind this region, the basal body expresses a long axoneme of 14 microtubule doublets with only inner arms. An acrosome is lacking. The nucleus is twisted around the apical conical dense structure and the axoneme; this coiling seems to be due to the rotation of the axoneme on its longitudinal axis. The posterior part of the axoneme forms three turns within the spermatid cytoplasm. Few unchanged mitochondria are scattered in the cytoplasm. Sperm consist of encysted, globular cells that descend along the deferent duct lumen. Some of them are engulfed by the epithelial cells, which thus have a spermiophagic activity. Sperm placed in a proper medium extend their flagellar axonemes and start beating. Protura sperm structure is quite different from that of Collembola sperm; and on the basis of sperm characters, a close relationship between the two taxa is not supported.