Spermiogenesis and biflagellate spermatozoon of the teleost fish Lampanyctus crocodilus (Myctophiformes, Myctophidae): ultrastructure and characterisation of its sperm basic nuclear proteins

Abstract

We undertook an ultrastructural study of the spermiogenesis of the lanternfish Lampanyctus crocodilus (Myctophiformes, Myctophidae) with special emphasis on the condensation of chromatin and the biochemical characterisation of its sperm nuclear basic proteins (SNBPs). The round head of the early spermatid of L. crocodilus develops into a curved conical-shaped head in the spermatozoon. Two flagella, present even in the spermatid, are inserted laterally at the convex side of the sperm head. Both flagella possess an axoneme with a 9 + 0 instead of the typical 9 + 2 axonemal structure. Mitochondria undergo a characteristic redistribution during spermiogenesis. A reduced number of them are present lying away from the centrioles at both ends of the concave side of the sperm head. During the chromatin condensation stages in spermiogenesis, fibrogranular structures with granules of 25 ± 5 and 50 ± 5 nm can be observed in the early spermatid and develop into larger granules of about 150 ± 50 nm in the middle spermatid. The latter granules coalesce during the transition to the advanced spermatid and spermatozoon giving rise to highly condensed chromatin in the sperm cell. Protamines are the main SNBPs associated with this chromatin; however, they are unusually large and correspond to the largest protamines described in fish to date. Small stoichiometric amounts of histones and other basic proteins coexist with these protamines in the spermatozoon.

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Acknowledgments

We are very grateful to José Antonio Caparrós and the crew of the fishing boats Nus and l’Òstia for kindly providing us with the biological material. We are also thankful to Raquel Sánchez-Giraldo for her help with sample transportation and for her assistance with the FPLC and to Enric Huguet and Sara K. Murase for their help with translations from Japanese. Microscopic observations were performed in the Scientific Technical Services of the University of Barcelona.

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Correspondence to N. Saperas.

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This work was supported in part by the Fundació Bosch i Gimpera (Universitat de Barcelona) to E.R., by grant BFU2009–10380 (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain), FEDER and AQU-2009-SGR-1208 (Generalitat de Catalunya) to N.S. and by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) 46399–2012 grant to J.A.

All the fish species and groups mentioned follow Nelson’s (2006) classification.

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Ribes, E., Cheema, M., González-Romero, R. et al. Spermiogenesis and biflagellate spermatozoon of the teleost fish Lampanyctus crocodilus (Myctophiformes, Myctophidae): ultrastructure and characterisation of its sperm basic nuclear proteins. Cell Tissue Res 361, 619–632 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-015-2119-6

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Keywords

  • Biflagellate sperm
  • Fish spermiogenesis
  • Sperm nuclear basic proteins
  • Myctophiformes
  • Lampanyctus