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Axonemal doublet microtubules can split into two complete singlets in human sperm flagellum tips.

Journal article
Authors Davide Zabeo
Jacob Croft
Johanna L Höög
Published in FEBS letters
Volume 593
Issue 9
Pages 892-902
ISSN 1873-3468
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 892-902
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.13379
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...
Subject categories Structural Biology, Cell Biology

Abstract

Motile flagella are crucial for human fertility and embryonic development. The distal tip of the flagellum is where growth and intra-flagellar transport are coordinated. In most model organisms, but not all, the distal tip includes a 'singlet region', where axonemal doublet microtubules (dMT) terminate and only complete A-tubules extend as singlet microtubules (sMT) to the tip. How a human flagellar tip is structured is unknown. Here, the flagellar tip structure of human spermatozoa was investigated by cryo-electron tomography, revealing the formation of a complete sMT from both the A-tubule and B-tubule of dMTs. This different tip arrangement in human spermatozoa shows the need to investigate human flagella directly in order to understand their role in health and disease.

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