How the Sperm Builds Its Tail

by Kathy Jones on  August 16, 2012 at 7:35 PM Research News
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A new study published in the journal Development Cell reveals that researchers at Portugal's Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) have discovered the process through which sperm cells of a fruit fly develop their flagella, the slender hair-like structures that extend from the surface of the cells and help them move forward.
 How the Sperm Builds Its Tail
How the Sperm Builds Its Tail

These findings pave the way to further understand the molecules and processes that may trigger a variety of human diseases and disorders, including infertility, respiratory problems and hydrocephaly, known to be associated with defects in flagellar movements.

Using electron microscopy - which allows scientists to see structures that are 3,500 times thinner than a strand of human hair - Monica Bettencourt-Dias and her team described, for the first time ever, the different steps involved in making a motile flagellum in sperm cells of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). The team was particularly interested in when and how a critical protein structure - called the central microtubule pair - is formed. Without the central microtubule pair complex, the flagellum is unable to move in a coordinated fashion.



Source: Eurekalert

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