This article reviews recent studies on physiological inducers of the acrosome reaction in starfish. Upon encountering the jelly coat of eggs, starfish sperm undergo the acrosome reaction in response to a cooperation of three jelly components: a sulfated glycoprotein named acrosome reaction-inducing substance (ARIS), a group of steroidal saponins named Co-ARIS, and an oligopeptide presumably having an activity to increase the intracellular pH of sperm. ARIS induces the acrosome reaction in high Ca2+ or high pH sea water. In normal sea water, both ARIS and Co-ARIS are required for the induction. In addition to ARIS and Co-ARIS, a third jelly component, the oligopeptide, is necessary to mimic the full capacity of the jelly coat to induce the acrosome reaction. ARIS and Co-ARIS cooperatively increase the intracellular Ca2+ by stimulating Ca2+ channels, while the oligopeptide increases the intracellular pH by stimulating Na+/H+ exchange systems. When sperm meet the eggs, both changes are simultaneously achieved in them and thus they undergo the acrosome reaction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology