REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Somatic cells raise sperm barriers

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Science  21 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6310, pp. 298
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6310.298-a

Testes cells block sperm reentry with actin.

PHOTO: DR. DAVID PHILLIPS/VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC.

Sperm release is a potential target for contraception. Using time-lapse studies of sperm release from Drosophila testes ex vivo, Dubey et al. found that spermatid tails are released from the testes before the heads. Before ejection, spermatid heads attempt to penetrate the somatic cells of the testes but are repelled. Localized actin nucleation in the cortex of the somatic cell generates a mechanical barrier, preventing invasion. This response has similarities to the regulation of sperm release in mammals.

Dev. Cell 38, 507 (2016).

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