Redistribution of nuclear pores during formation of the redundant nuclear envelope in mouse spermatids

J Anat. 2010 Apr;216(4):525-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01204.x. Epub 2010 Jan 27.


Extensive morphological modification occurs during mammalian spermiogenesis when spermatids change their spherical shape into cells with a compact head and a long tail. In this study, freeze-fracture was used to elucidate the alteration of the nuclear envelope during this process. Nuclear condensation resulted in a great reduction of spermatid nuclear volume and the formation of the redundant nuclear envelope. During nuclear condensation, distribution patterns of nuclear pores were greatly affected by the developing acrosome and manchette. As the acrosome enlarged to cap the nucleus, the pores redistributed caudally in the nuclear membranes and became exclusively localized to the redundant nuclear envelope. Manchette microtubules play an important role in shaping the nucleus, and formation of the manchette was associated with exclusion of nuclear pores from the underlying nuclear envelope; therefore, it is likely that the redistribution of nuclear pores was aided by manchette development. The appearance of an electron-lucent nuclear region surrounded by the nascent redundant nuclear envelope indicated a pathway for transporting degradation products through the nuclear pores to the residual cytoplasm. The packaging of the nuclear pores into the redundant nuclear envelope suggests that they play a role in late stages of sperm maturation or in fertilization, as most other unnecessary organelles of sperm are discarded during spermiogenesis or during shedding of the cytoplasmic droplet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Envelope / ultrastructure
  • Nuclear Pore / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Pore / ultrastructure
  • Spermatids / metabolism*
  • Spermatids / ultrastructure
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology*