Sperm aggregations – how and why

Sperm aggregations in bedbugs – how and why

Supervisor: Christian Massino/ Christoph von Bredow

Background: In many organisms, sperm cells form aggregations that may represent cooperative behaviour. It is not clear how this happens – how do they stick together? It is not clear either why this happens. Let’s start slowly. In bedbugs, sperm travel in swarms freely through the female. In the female body, sperm form ring-like structures. How many? How many sperm per ring? Are these rings the same sperm that travel together through the female… etc. You will do a combination of experiments, cool histology and microscopy.

References:

Pizzari T, Foster KR. 2008. PLoS Biology 6:e130

Moore H, Dvoráková K, Jenkins N, Breed W. 2002. Nature 418:174.

Hayashi F. 1998. Sperm co‐operation in the Fishfly, Parachauliodes japonicus. Functional Ecology 12: 347-350 Link.

Lassalle B, Testart J. 1996. Lectins binding on human sperm surface increase membrane permeability and stimulate acrosomal exocytosis. Molecular Human Reproduction 2: 651-658.