Polymerization of actin. VI. The polarity of the actin filaments in the acrosomal process and how it might be determined

L. G. Tilney, N. Kallenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The polarity of the actin filaments which assemble form the nucleating body or actomere of Thyone and Pisaster sperm was determined using myosin subfragment 1 decoration. The polarity was found to be unidirectional with the arrowheads pointing towards the cell center. When polymerization is induced at low temperature with concentrations of actin near the critical concentration for polymerization, elongation of filaments occurs preferentially off the apical end. If the sperm are induced to undergo the acrosomal reaction with an ionophore, the polarity of the actin filaments attached to the actomere is the same as that already described, but the filaments which polymerize parallel to, but peripheral to, those extending from the actomere are randomly polarized. These randomly polarized filaments appear to result from spontaneous nucleation. When sperm are induced to undergo the acrosomal reaction with eggs, the polarity of the actin filaments is also unidirectional with the arrowheads pointing towards the cell center. From these results we conclude: that the actomere, by nucleating the polymerization of actin filaments, controls the polarity of the actin filaments in the acrosomal process, that the actomere recognized a surface of the actin monomer that is different from that surface recognized by the dense material attached to membranes, and that egg myosin could not act to pull the sperm into the egg. Included is a discussion of how the observation that monomers add largely to one end of a decorated filament in vitro relates to these in vivo observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-623
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Volume81
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1979

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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