Three-dimensional correlative microscopy of the Drosophila female reproductive tract reveals modes of communication in seminal receptacle sperm storage

Einat Zelinger, Vlad Brumfeld, Katya Rechav, Daniel Waiger, Tally Kossovsky, Yael Heifetz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In many taxa, females store sperm in specialized storage organs. Most insect sperm storage organs have a tubular structure, typically consisting of a central lumen surrounded by epithelial cells. These specialized tubules perform the essential tasks of transporting sperm through the female reproductive tract and supporting long-term sperm survival and function. Little is known about the way in which female sperm storage organs provide an environment conducive to sperm survival. We address this using a combined light microscopy, micro computed tomography (microCT), and Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) approach for high-resolution correlative three-dimensional imaging to advance our understanding of sperm-female interactions in Drosophila melanogaster. Using this multimodal approach, we were able to scan the lower female reproductive tract and distal portion of the seminal receptacle at low magnification, and to subsequently zoom in for further analysis on an ultrastructural level. Our findings highlight aspects of the way in which the seminal receptacle keeps sperm viable in the lumen, and set the stage for further studies. The methods developed are suitable not only for Drosophila but also for other organisms with soft, delicate tissues.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s) 2024.

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