PROFESSORS P.M. MOTTA & J. VAN BLERKOM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROFESSORS P.M. MOTTA & J. VAN BLERKOM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Capacitation of spermatozoa. False-colour scanning electron micrograph of a group of spermatozoa (turquoise) floating over the endometrium, the internal wall of the uterus. Thanks to their movements through the ciliated epithelium (yellow) spermatozoa undergo the process known as capacitation. During this phase, which lasts about seven hours, a glycoprotein coat and seminal plasma proteins are removed from the heads of spermatozoa. This enables a spermatozoon, when close to the egg, to release special enzymes which allows it to penetrate the surrounding membranes of the egg. Magnification: x2460 at 6x7cm size.
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