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An investigation of yolk-protein localization in the testes of the starfish Pisaster ochraceus

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The distribution of the yolk epitope, PY4F8, was studied in the testes of the starfish Pisaster ochraceus (Brandt, 1835). Western blots have revealed that testes only show one 180 kDa band, whereas ovaries exhibit four PY4F8 bands at 90, 110, 120, and 180 kDa. This finding suggests that male yolk is less complex than female yolk. It was shown that PY4F8-positive material abounds in the hemal sinus of testes. Moreover, this epitope was found in the basal lamina, in the lumen of the testes, and in the cytoplasm of auxiliary and spermatogenic cells. It is likely that a hemal testis barrier is absent in P. ochraceus, and this lack allows direct penetration of nutrition to sustain metabolism of both spermatogenic and auxiliary cells. Morphologically, this penetration is possible through the gaps between adjacent auxiliary cell bases. Yolk granules containing the PY4F8 epitope are located in spermatogonia and spermatocytes, but not in spermatids and sperm. Therefore, yolk may play an important role in early spermatogenesis, but it does not participate at the final stage of sperm formation.

Nous avons étudié la répartition de l’épitope du vitellus, PY4F8, dans les testicules de l’étoile de mer Pisaster ochraceus (Brandt, 1835). Des buvardages Western ont montré que les testicules n’ont qu’une bande à 180 kDa, qu’alors que les ovaires présentent quatre bandes de PY4F8 à 90, 110, 120 et 180 KDa. Cette observation indique que le vitellus mâle est moins complexe que le vitellus femelle. On a pu démontrer que du matériel à réaction positive à PY4F8 est abondant dans le sinus sanguin du testicule. De plus, cet épitope se retrouve dans la lamelle de base, dans la lumière des testicules et dans le cytoplasme des cellules auxiliaires et spermatogènes. Il est probable que la barrière sanguine du testicule soit absente chez P. ochraceus et que cela permette une pénétration directe de la nutrition pour soutenir le métabolisme à la fois des cellules spermatogènes et des cellules auxiliaires. Morphologiquement, cette pénétration est possible à travers les brèches entre les bases des cellules auxiliaires adjacentes. Des granules de vitellus contenant l’épitope PY4F8 se retrouvent dans les spermatogonies et les spermatocytes, mais non dans les spermatides et les spermatozoïdes. Le vitellus peut ainsi jouer un rôle important dans les premières phases de la spermatogenèse, mais il ne participe pas à l’étape finale de la formation des spermatozoïdes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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