Regional differences in the structure of the plasma membrane and acrosome membrane of squid spermatozoa were studied by freeze‐fracture and thin section electron microscopy. In regions of close apposition the plasma membrane and acrosome membrane are adjoined to one another by regularly spaced linkages. These linkage sites, overlie a set of fibers located at the inner face of the acrosomal membrane. The acrosomal fibers terminate in a layer of granular material located at the base of the acrosome. Detergent treatment of sperm releases the fibers and granular material as an interconnected complex. Freeze‐fracture replicas reveal a random arrangement of intramembranous particles in the plasma membrane over the sperm head and linear aggregates of intramembranous particles in the acrosomal membrane. Several regional differences in the structure of the flagellar plasma membrane are present. The thickness of the glycocalyx is progressively reduced distally along the flagellum. Freeze‐fracture replicas show evenly spaced linear arrays of intramembranous particles which extend parallel t o the flagellar long axis. Examination of spermatozoa extracted to disrupt flagellar geometry suggest that the dense fiber‐doublet microtubule complexes are attached to the plasma membrane. The possible functional role of these membrane differentiations and their relationship t o membrane structures in mammalian spermatozoa are discussed.
- squid sperm