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Cell. 1996 Jan 12;84(1):105-14.

Reconstitution in vitro of the motile apparatus from the amoeboid sperm of Ascaris shows that filament assembly and bundling move membranes.

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Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee 32306, USA.


We have developed an in vitro motility system from Ascaris sperm, unique amoeboid cells that use filament arrays composed of major sperm protein (MSP) instead of an actin-based apparatus for locomotion. Addition of ATP to sperm extracts induces formation of fibers approximately 2 microns in diameter. These fibers display the key features of the MSP cytoskeleton in vivo. Each fiber consists of a meshwork of MSP filaments and has at one end a vesicle derived from the plasma membrane at the leading edge of the cell. Fiber growth is due to filament assembly at the vesicle; thus, fiber elongation results in vesicle translocation. This in vitro system demonstrates directly that localized polymerization and bundling of filaments can move membranes and provides a powerful assay for evaluating the molecular mechanism of amoeboid cell motility.

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