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Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2010 Apr;67(4):251-8. doi: 10.1002/cm.20440.

Detachment of the basal body from the sperm tail is not required to organize functional centrosomes during Drosophila embryogenesis.

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Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Siena, I-53100 Siena, Italy.


The formation of the zygotic spindle at fertilization requires in most animals the central contribution of the sperm-inherited basal body that recruits maternal cytoplasmic components to assemble a functional centrosome. Although as a general rule the entire sperm enters the egg during fertilization, the fate of the sperm basal body during further development is not clear. We have found that the sperm centriole remains linked to the apical end of the sperm tail through early development and is able to duplicate and recruit maternal components to assemble functional centrosomes. The basal body, therefore, needs not to be detached from the sperm tail to perform its centriole function during organization of the centrosome. By cellularization and early gastrulation the sperm centriole has lost both these capabilities. The persistence of the sperm axoneme and its close association with its centriole during development presents a paradox. If the sperm centriole is a true basal body, then the widespread idea that cells with a primary cilium must resorb the axoneme and transform the basal body into a centriole to enable proper mitosis will have to be re-examined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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