Studies of sterile mutants in Caenorhabditis elegans have uncovered new insights into fundamental aspects of gamete cell biology, development, and function at fertilization. The genome sequences of C. elegans, Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis remanei allow for informative comparative studies among these three species. Towards that end, we have examined wild-type sperm morphology and activation (spermiogenesis) in each. Light and electron microscopy studies reveal that general sperm morphology, organization, and ultrastructure are similar in all three species, and activation techniques developed for C. elegans were found to work well in both C. briggsae and C. remanei. Despite important differences in the reproductive mode between C. remanei and the other two species, most genes required for spermiogenesis are conserved in all three. Finally, we have also examined the subcellular distribution of sperm epitopes in C. briggsae and C. remanei that cross-react with anti-sera directed against C. elegans sperm proteins. The baseline data in this study will prove useful for the future analysis and interpretation of sperm gene function across nematode species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- C. elegans