When echinoderm sperm are treated with the detergent Triton X-100 at pH 6.4 in 10 mM phosphate buffer, the membranes are solubilized, but the actin which is located in the periacrosomal region remains as a phase-dense cup. These cups can be isolated free from the flagella and chromatin and can be solubilized by increasing the pH to 8.0 and by changing the ionic strength and type of buffer used. Since the actin does not exist in the "F" state in unreacted sperm, and since the actin remains as a unit that does not diffuse away, it must be present in the mature sperm in a bound or storage state. The actin is, in fact, associated with a pair of proteins whose mol wt are 250,000 and 230,000. When the isolated cups are digested with trypsin, these high molecular weight proteins are digested, thereby liberating the actin. The actin will polymerize if heavy meromyosin or subfragment 1 is added to a preparation of isolated cups. Evidence is presented that this pair of high molecular weight proteins is similar in molecular weight and properties to erythrocyte spectrin. Attempts at transforming the storage form of actin in the cup into filaments were only moderately successful. The best conditions for filament formation involve incubating the cup in ATP and divalent salts. Careful examination of these cups reveals that the actin polymerized preferentially on either end of oriented filaments that already exist in the cup, indicating that self-nucleation is inefficacious. I conclude that the actin can exist in the storage form by its association with spectrin-like molecules and that the actin in this state polymerizes preferentially onto existing filaments.

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