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 Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>