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J Ultrastruct Res. 1985 Mar;90(3):221-34.

Microtubule termination patterns in mammalian sperm flagella.


Detailed reconstructions of the flagellar tip (end-piece) in rodent spermatozoa have shown patterns of displacement between the termination points of the axonemal doublets (judging the terminations by the loss of electron density from the A-tubule). The patterns are in good agreement with those derived from sliding microtubule theory. In the hamster at least, the axis of major displacement passes approximately through doublet 1 and between doublets 5 and 6, though there may be some skewness in the clockwise direction. Microtubules derived from the plane at right angles to this (the central pair and presumably one or both of doublets 3 and 8) continue beyond the rest to the extreme tip, where they appear to be linked together at the cell membrane. This arrangement suggests that the tapering form of the end-piece, and of flagellar terminal filaments and ciliary tips in general, may be an adaptation to contain the sliding microtubules and prevent them impinging on the membrane overlying the tip.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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