Sperm cells have tiny bags of enzymes on their tip (the acrosome) which allow them to penetrate the ovum. My question is whether or not the process that allows sperm cells to penetrate the cell membrane is specific to ova, or if it allows them to penetrate other types of cells.

In either case, a quick description of the process would be greatly appreciated!

  • $\begingroup$ I was about to ask this question. I just bought a microscope and of course I was looking at my sperm, what intrigued me (even though I have little knowledge on biology) is that I saw a sperm cell incide a another [what looked like] another cell, from my own semen. (Took pictures and recorded with my cellphone!). $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


It is very possible that the specific enzymes that penetrate the cells can be used to lyse other cells or at least manipulate the plasma membrane. That being said, I don't think that sperm cells can be used to do that because the acrosomal reactions that you discuss are only activated by the presence of the zona pelliculada of the egg cell. Since that doesn't exist in any other type of cell a sperm cell can't be used for Acrosomal enzyme delivery for somatic cells, for example.

If you want to read more, the Wikipedia page about the Acrosome reaction is pretty good.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your response. The specificity of the acrosomal reactions to the zona pelliculada was the information I needed. $\endgroup$
    – Brickman
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 21:57

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