Characterization of the sperm-associated body and its role in the fertilization of the chicken Gallus domesticus.
ABSTRACT The present paper aimed to characterize the substance forming the sperm-associated body (SB), to find its producing sites, and to show its functions in the fertilization of chicken. The SB was found both in between the inner and outer layers of vitelline membranes around eggs and in the oviductal infundibulum. Material from which the SB is constructed (SB substance) was isolated from the vitelline membranes. It was a hydrophobic protein with a molecular size of 570 kDa. X-ray microanalysis detected calcium in the aggregates of the SB substance. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy showed that the substance was produced in secretory cells in the luminal epithelium of the oviductal infundibulum and was provided to the egg on and in its vitelline membrane. During incubation, the SB substance bound with spermatozoa in the posterior portion of their flagella. Holes and disks were found in the vitelline membranes of fertile eggs at a ratio of 1: 19-24. Over 94% of the holes were accompanied by SB. The presence of SB is necessary for fertile spermatozoa to make holes in the membrane and to enter the fertile egg.