Researchers have identified a key component of the mechanism spermatozoa use to abruptly convert their tail motion from a steady swimming undulation to the whip-cracking snap that thrusts them into an egg. The finding opens a new research pathway that the researchers said could help scientists both recognize new forms of male infertility and design new contraceptives to thwart sperm entry into the egg.
Whats more, they said, the exquisitely delicate analytical technique they used to eavesdrop on the electrical currents inside the squirming sperm cell could literally open a new window into its largely mysterious inner workings.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator David E. Clapham and his colleagues published their findings in the February 9, 2006, issue of the journal Nature. Lead author on the paper was Yuriy Kirichok and the other co-author was Betsy Navarro, both in Claphams laboratory at Harvard Medical School.
Jennifer Michalowski | EurekAlert!
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