The sperm tail is essential for male fertility and thus for sexual reproduction. The tail, or flagellum, has to beat in a very precise and coordinated manner to allow progressive swimming of the sperm. Failure to do so can lead to male infertility.
Researchers in Europe now show that one particular enzymatic modification of a protein called glycylation is essential to keep sperm swimming in a straight line. These findings imply that a disruption of this modification could underlie some forms of male infertility in humans.
Why is this discovery important? “This study points to a new mechanism underlying male infertility,” the authors state.