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ICS-2 Seminar: Luis Alvarez - "Sperm and egg: a blind date between two cells"

Caesar Bonn

28.01.2016 11:00 Uhr
Seminarraum 2001, Geb. 04.16


Sperm cells must locate the egg for fertilization. On their quest, sperm rely on sensory cues provided by the egg or the surrounding tissue. Chemical signals, flow fields, or temperature differences are translated by the cellular machinery into movements of the sperm tail to steer their path to the egg. How can a single sperm cell translate sensory information for orientation?

We studied sperm cells swimming in a three-dimensional gradient of chemoattractant and show that sperm probe attractant gradients on different timescales. Periodic sensory input, resulting from periodic swimming in a chemical gradient, allows sperm to get information about the gradient direction and execute deterministic steering manoeuvres. A second timescale of gradient sensing allows sperm to measure the overall success and adjust the steering strength accordingly. Adjustment of the steering strength results in smooth bending of the swimming path while swimming up the gradient and in abrupt turns when veering away from it.

We show that these different modalities of cellular sensory/response converge on the same signaling pathway and that sperm steering is in fact following the cGMP dynamics in the cell.


Prof. Dr. Gerhard Gompper
Telefon: +49 2461 61-4012
Fax: +49 2461 61-3180