It is widely accepted that mature mammalian oocytes are induced to resume meiosis by a sperm-borne oocyte-activating factor(s) (sperm factor, SF) immediately after normal fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. The SF is most likely a soluble factor that is localized within the cytoplasm of mature spermatozoa, but the exact stage at which it appears during spermatogenesis and its localization after oocyte activation is not fully understood, except in the mouse. First, we injected mature spermatozoa and spermatogenic cells from cynomolgus monkeys into mouse oocytes to assess their oocyte-activating capacity. More than 90% of mouse oocytes were activated after injection of monkey spermatozoa. Round spermatids and primary spermatocytes (late pachytene to diplotene) also activated oocytes (93% and 79%, respectively). Injection of monkey spermatozoa and spermatids induces intracellular Ca2 oscillations in a pattern similar to that seen following normal fertilization. Most spermatocytes did not produce typical intracellular Ca2 oscillations. Second, we transferred pronuclei or cytoplasts from mouse oocytes that had been activated by monkey spermatozoa or spermatids into intact mature mouse oocytes by electrofusion in order to examine the localization of the SF after pronuclear formation. Some of the SF was localized within the pronuclei, but some stayed in the ooplasm. This study demonstrated that spermatogenic cells of cynomolgus monkeys acquire oocyte-activating capacity at much earlier stages than those of mice, and that the monkey SF has a pronucleus-directing nature, although to a lesser extent than the mouse SF.
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