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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1997;38(1):29-37.

The heterotrimeric motor protein kinesin-II localizes to the midpiece and flagellum of sea urchin and sand dollar sperm.

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Department of Biology, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, USA.


We have utilized immunoblotting and light microscopic immunofluorescent staining methods to examine the expression and localization of sea urchin kinesin-II, a heterotrimeric plus end-directed microtubule motor protein (previously referred to as KRP(85/95)), in sea urchin and sand dollar sperm. We demonstrate the presence of the 85 K and 115 K subunits of kinesin-II in sperm and localize these proteins to the sperm flagella and midpiece. The kinesin-II localization pattern is punctate and discontinuous, and in the flagella it is quite distinct from the continuous labeling present in sperm labeled with anti-flagellar dynein. The kinesin-II staining is largely insensitive to prefixation detergent extraction, suggesting that it is not associated with membranous elements in the sperm. In the midpiece the kinesin-II staining is similar to the pattern present in sperm labeled with an anti-centrosomal antibody. To our knowledge, this is the first localization of kinesin-like proteins in mature sperm and corroborates the recent identification and localization of kinesin-like proteins in the flagella and basal body of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas. We hypothesize that kinesin-II in the sperm may play functional roles in intraflagellar transport and/or the formation of flagella during spermatogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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