Major sperm protein molecule

Major sperm protein molecule

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Credit: LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Major sperm protein. Computer model showing the tertiary structure of the peptide chains that make up major sperm protein (MSP). MSP is the most abundant protein in the sperm of nematodes (roundworms). It makes up around 15 per cent of the total cell protein and plays an essential role in sperm motility. The MSP molecules are part of the cell cytoskeleton. They are built up into a bundle of long chains at the front of the cell, and are disassembled at the back. This moves the cell's membrane allowing it to crawl forward in a process called treadmilling.

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