Findings may have implications for contraceptive
A study led by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has determined that a novel enzyme in sperm is essential for sperm motility and male fertility. The new study may offer a potential target for an effective, non-hormonal male contraceptive, the researchers said. The findings will be published today (Nov. 15) in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A report also will appear Nov. 23 in the journal’s print edition. Collaborating with UNC were scientists from the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS); Fudan University in Shanghai, China; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Sperm motility, produced by the coordinated movement of the extremely long sperm tail, requires substantial energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the major energy currency of the cell. Specialized cellular structures known as mitochondria were thought to provide a substantial portion of the ATP needed for sperm motility. In contrast, Dr. Deborah A. O’Brien, associate professor of cell and developmental biology at UNC’s School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that sperm motility and ATP production depend primarily on a metabolic pathway known as glycolysis. This pathway uses sugar to produce energy, a common process in animal and plant cells.
Leslie H. Lang | EurekAlert!
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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