The group led by ICREA Research Professor Cayetano Gonzalez at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with Giuliano Callaini's team at the University of Siena in Italy, has published a study in The Journal of Cell Biology that identifies the critical role played by a protein called CENTROBIN in sperm tail development.
In flies, as in humans, the sperm cell (spermatozoon) is made up of the cell body proper, also referred to as the sperm "head", and the flagellum. The flagellum, also called the sperm "tail", is a slender lash-like appendage that protrudes from the cell body.
By beating their tails, sperm cells swim to the female reproductive cell (oocyte) and fertilise it. A bundle of microtubules that span the entire length of the tail is critical for flagellar beating.
These microtubules are arranged in a characteristic radial symmetry that has been conserved throughout evolution and is templated by a small organelle called the basal body, which sits at the base of the flagellum.
Using the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study how the sperm tail develops, Gonzalez's Cell Division Lab has found that CENTROBIN plays a critical role in the assembly of a subset of microtubules within basal bodies. In the absence of CENTROBIN, basal bodies lack these microtubules, as do the non-motile tails that they template. Consequently, CENTROBIN mutant males are sterile.
A human condition: "easily decapitated spermatozoa defect'
In addition to the faulty microtubule array within the tail, the head-to-tail link is often severed in CENTROBIN mutant sperm. This effect is reminiscent of a human male sterility condition known as the "easily decapitated spermatozoa defect'. Semen from individuals affected by this condition appears normal, but minimal micro-manipulation, such as that required for in vitro fertilisation, results in sperm heads that are separated from their tails and thus that cannot swim.
In summary, the recent article demonstrates that CENTROBIN, which is well conserved between humans and flies, is a positive regulator of normal flagellum development. Remarkably, a previous study by the same group showed that CENTROBIN exerts a negative effect in the development of primary cilia.
Primary cilia are a shorter version of flagella that are present in certain neurons in the fly and in many cell types in humans, where they function as sensors of external stimuli. Like flagella, primary cilia contain a microtubule array that is templated by the basal body.
Taken together, these results reveal the multifunctional nature of CENTROBIN, a protein that plays opposing roles in distinct cell types in the same organism.
Jose Reina, Marco Gottardo, Maria G. Riparbelli, Salud Llamazares, Giuliano Callaini, Cayetano Gonzalez
Centrobin is essential for C-tubule assembly and flagellum development in Drosophila melanogaster spermatogenesis
The Journal of Cell Biology (2018) DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201801032
Sònia Armengou | EurekAlert!
Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences