Localization of the Drosophila male accessory gland protein Acp36DE in the mated female suggests a role in sperm storage

Academic Article


  • In many insect species, sperm transferred in a single mating are stored by the female in specialized organs and are gradually used to fertilize eggs. Thus, insects must have mechanisms to ensure that substantial numbers of sperm reach and become stored in the storage organs. We report here that a glycoprotein, Acp36DE, made by the accessory glands of Drosophila melanogaster males, shows localization in the mated female suggesting a role in sperm storage. In the mated female, Acp36DE associates with the wall of the oviduct, just anterior to the openings of the sperm storage organs. Acp36DE also associates with the leading edge of the sperm mass. It does not enter the hemolymph. Complete localization of Acp36DE in the mated female requires sperm and the presence of eggs in the ovaries. We hypothesize that Acp36DE, or a complex containing it, forms a barrier that 'corrals' sperm near the openings to the sperm storage organs. Concentration of sperm here could facilitate their efficient storage. Acp36DE remains in the genital tract for several hours after mating, concurrent with the time that sperm are being stored. Facilitation of sperm storage by Acp36DE may also explain the previously observed effect of this protein on sperm competition.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bertram MJ; Neubaum DM; Wolfner MF
  • Start Page

  • 971
  • End Page

  • 980
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 8-9