Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCLA biologists elucidate fertilization process

11.04.2003


UCLA graduate student Jeffrey Riffell and UCLA biology professor Richard Zimmer report the first experimental test on the role of small-scale physics as it influences the interactions between sperm and egg, and the consequences for fertilization, at the annual conference of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences in Sarasota, Fla., April 10.



“The physics of fluid motion has a profound consequence on the ability of sperm to navigate and find an egg, and therefore on fertilization,” Zimmer said.

Riffell and Zimmer conducted their research on abalone, but their work applies to other species as well. While a theory has been postulated on what should happen to chemicals in the presence of small-scale turbulence, no scientist had tested the theory before.


“There is an optimum amount of fluid motion where fertilization is significantly enhanced,” said Zimmer, whose research is federally funded by the National Science Foundation.

Riffell and Zimmer have been able to simulate important aspects of fluid motion as abalone experience it in their natural habitats, and to assign under what conditions the chemical communication process is optimized, and fertilization is therefore maximized. Similar physical mechanisms operate whether in the turbulent ocean environment or within a mammalian reproductive tract, including humans, Zimmer said.

In related research, a team — consisting of Marc Spehr, a postdoctoral scholar at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany; Hanns Hatt, a professor at Ruhr University; Gunter Gisselmann, Alexandra Poplawski and Christian Wetzel, all members of Hatt’s laboratory; and Riffell and Zimmer — reported findings that have potential implications for both increasing human fertilization and preventing pregnancies. The research team reported in the March 28 issue of the journal Science that they have isolated and identified a molecule (bourgeonal) that controls the navigation of human sperm cells, and the genes that code for that molecule, which may play a critical role in the fertilization process.

In addition, the scientists have discovered a potent inhibitor, called undecanal, that blocks the effects of bourgeonal on sperm.

“We are rapidly making strides in identifying the functional role in fertilization of remote chemical communication between sperm and eggs,” Zimmer said. “We are learning how chemical communication occurs.”

Stuart Wolpert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>