A dynamic basal complex modulates mammalian sperm movement Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Khanal, Sushil; Leung, Miguel R; Royfman, Abigail; Fishman, Emi L; Saltzman, Barbara; Bloomfield-Gadêlha, Hermes; Zeev-Ben-Mordehai, Tzviya; Avidor-Reiss, Tomer


  • Reproductive success depends on efficient sperm movement driven by axonemal dynein-mediated microtubule sliding. Models predict sliding at the base of the tail - the centriole - but such sliding has never been observed. Centrioles are ancient organelles with a conserved architecture; their rigidity is thought to restrict microtubule sliding. Here, we show that, in mammalian sperm, the atypical distal centriole (DC) and its surrounding atypical pericentriolar matrix form a dynamic basal complex (DBC) that facilitates a cascade of internal sliding deformations, coupling tail beating with asymmetric head kinking. During asymmetric tail beating, the DC's right side and its surroundings slide ~300 nm rostrally relative to the left side. The deformation throughout the DBC is transmitted to the head-tail junction; thus, the head tilts to the left, generating a kinking motion. These findings suggest that the DBC evolved as a dynamic linker coupling sperm head and tail into a single self-coordinated system.

publication date

  • 2021

published in

start page

  • 3808


  • 12