2019 Volume 65 Issue 2 Pages 155-162
The mitochondrial sheath is composed of mitochondria that coil tightly around the midpiece of sperm flagellum. These mitochondria are recruited from the cytoplasm to the flagellum late in spermatogenesis. Initially, recruited mitochondria are spherical-shaped but then elongate laterally to become crescent-like in shape. Subsequently, crescent-like mitochondria elongate continuously to coil tightly around the flagellum. Recently, disorganization of the mitochondrial sheath was reported in Glycerol kinase 2 (Gk2) disrupted mice. To analyze the disorganization of the mitochondrial sheath further, we generated Gk2-deficient mice using the CRISPR/Cas9 system and observed sperm mitochondria in testis using a freeze-fracture method with scanning electron microscopy. Gk2-disrupted spermatids show abnormal localization of crescent-like mitochondria, in spite of the initial proper alignment of spherical mitochondria around the flagellum, which causes abnormal mitochondrial sheath formation leading to exposure of the outer dense fibers. These results indicate that GK2 is essential for proper arrangement of crescent-like mitochondria to form the mitochondrial sheath during mouse spermatogenesis.