Protein Transforms Sperm into Battering Rams, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Study

Published: Oct 18, 2007

For sperm to penetrate an egg, they must first compress into a tight ball before springing into action. Researchers have now discovered a protein that can affect how DNA is packaged inside sperm so that they can scrunch up tightly enough to pierce the outer layer of the egg during fertilization. The new studies in mice show that if this key protein is missing, DNA in sperm cannot be tightly packaged and the sperm will not be able to penetrate the egg. The researchers speculate that deficiencies in the protein may underlie some forms of male infertility.

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