June 9, 2011

There are a lot of great horror movies around, but not a single one features GIANT MITOCHONDRIA! I’m going to call Hollywood directly and suggest a movie about giant mitochondria. Or, I could suggest you check out today’s image and fascinating paper on giant mitochondria in fruit fly sperm.

Sperm can grow quite long in the testes of male fruit flies, with some reaching 6 cm long. These elongated sperm have better success at fertilizing female fruit flies than shorter sperm. A recent paper looks at the cellular mechanisms that allow developing spermatids to grow to such great lengths, and the authors find that giant mitochondria play a very important role. Noguchi and colleagues found that growing mitochondria provide a platform for microtubules to grow in the elongating spermatids, and this combined structure serves as a template for cell shape. Im
age above shows microtubules (green) and mitochondria (red) in a fruit fly spermatid.

TResearchBlogging.orgatsuhiko Noguchi, Michiko Koizumi, & Shigeo Hayashi (2011). Sustained Elongation of Sperm Tail Promoted by Local Remodeling of Giant Mitochondria in Drosophila Current Biology, 21 (10), 805-814 : doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.04.016
Copyright ©2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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