Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was used to fuse trout sperm with Chinese hamster fibroblasts (CHW-1102). As judged by light microscopy, PEG significantly increased the number of associations between the two cell types. Electron microscopy revealed that the sperm nuclei were in the cytoplasm of CHW-1102 in cultures that had been treated with PEG and in phagosomes of CHW-1102 in cultures not treated with PEG. In the cytoplasm many sperm nuclei had an extensive network of fibres whereas before fusion the sperm nuclei contained chromatin blocks which were packed together tightly. In phagosomes they consisted of dispersed blocks of chromatin. The chromatin of the few sperm that were found outside CHW-1100 cells but in the same culture that was treated with PEG also lacked fibres and consisted of loosely packed blocks. Most nuclei were unaltered by PEG treatment alone although in a few the packing of the chromatin blocks was loosened. Thus the decondensation of sperm nuclei within CHW-1102 cells appears to be brought about by the mammalian cytoplasm rather than by digestion in phagosomes, the culture conditions, or the treatment used to induce fusion.

This content is only available via PDF.