Monday, June 5, 2017

Secret of Sperm's 'Bendy' Tail Revealed #Science

Shake that thing, just shake that thing
You shake that moneymaker
You shake that thing and shake it, boy
Show her you're a sailor

- the Colonel

The sperm tail is made up of a complex system of filaments, connected by elastic springs (stock image).

Credit: © videodoctor / Fotolia

Tallyho, you feisty li'l wrigglers.

Ed:  she's single

Die you satanic bastards!  I don't want to be a baby daddy.

Science Daily:  Secret of sperm's 'bendy' tail revealed

Scientists at the University of York have shown that a sperm tail utilises interconnected elastic springs to transmit mechanical information to distant parts of the tail, helping it to bend and ultimately swim towards an egg.

Previous studies, from approximately 50 years ago, showed that the sperm tail, or flagellum, was made up of a complex system of filaments, connected by elastic springs resembling a cylinder-like structure. For many years scientists believed that this system provided the sperm tail with a scaffold, allowing it to swim in a hostile environment towards an egg.

- SD

Likely you have surmised from that the current researchers were not satisfied with that explanation and wanted to know ... what's the sperm tail's inner self; what's it's inspiration for motivation.

New research at the University of York, however, has shown through a mathematical model that this system is not only needed to maintain the structure of the tail, but it is also vital to how it transmits information to very distant parts of the tail, allowing it to bend and move in its own unique way.

- SD

Now we start to perceive the Oneness of the Sperm Tail and the sophistication of its wiggling ways.

Interestingly, although the sperm tail has an internal structure that is conserved across most species - animal and human - they all create slightly different movements in order to reach an egg.

"This suggests that the tail's structure is not the whole story to how they make their distinct tail-bending motion."

- SD

But there's more.

Now it's going to get really strange.

Surprisingly a movement that started near the head of the sperm, resulted in an opposite-direction bend at the tip of the tail, called the 'counterbend phenomenon', suggesting that mechanical information is transmitted along the interconnected elastic bands in order to create movement along the full length of the tail.

Dr Gadêlha calculated these bending movements to form a mathematical model that would help hypothesise the triggers needed within the tail to make these distinct movements.

Dr Gadêlha said: "If we imagine that the communication to distant parts of the tail is a bit like the communication between blindfolded rowers in a canoe boat. Blindfolded rowers can't see each other's motion to communicate what movement to make, and in the absence of shouting to each other, they must instead feel the mechanics of the boat and the movement that each rower is making in order to synchronise their motion.

"It seems that the molecular motors - the 'rowers' inside the sperm tail - are doing a similar thing, but in a much more complex 'boat'.

- SD

"The mechanism of a sperm tail first creates a sliding motion between filaments, inside this cylindrically arranged structure, finally resulting in a tail bending, a bit like the piston that converts back and forth motion in to rotation of the wheel on a train. Any one movement in this complex sequence appears to be able to trigger motion right through to the distant parts of the tail.

"The big question now is, how does the tail transmit specific biomechanical information to allow these 'rowers' to self-organise?"

The research is published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

- SD

Any good science will give you another question so the interested student is invited ...

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