Between the acrosomal vacuole and the nucleus is a cup of amorphous material (profilactin) which is transformed into filaments during the acrosomal reaction. In the center of this cup in untreated Thyone sperm is a dense material which I refer to as the actomere; it is composed of 20-25 filaments embedded in a dense matrix. To visualize the substructure of the actomere, the profilactin around it must be removed. This is achieved either by demembranating the sperm with Triton X-100 and then raising the pH to 8.0, or by adding inophores to intact sperm at pH 8.0. Under these conditions, the actomere remains as a unit while the rest of the profilactin is solubilized or polymerized. When demembranated sperm are incubated under conditions in which the actin should polymerize, filaments grow from the end of the actomere: the actomere thus appears to behave as a nucleating body. This observation is strengthened by experiments in which untreated sperm are incubated in seawater or isotonic NaCl at pH 7.0 and the ionophore X537A is added; in this case, only a partial polymerization of the actin occurs and the acrosomal vacuole does not fuse with the cell surface. The actin filaments that do form, however, are attached to the apical end of the actomere. In fact, the elongating filaments push their way into and frequently through the acrosomal vacuole. Thus, it appears that the sperm organizes the actin filaments by controlling their nucleation. My model is that the cell controls the ammount of unbound actin such that it is slightly above the critical concentration for polymerization. Then, spontaneous nucleation is unfavored and polymerization would proceed from existing nuclei such as the actomer.

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