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Mechanical properties of the passive sea urchin sperm flagellum

Pelle, Dominic W. and Brokaw, Charles J. and Lesich, Kathleen A. and Lindemann, Charles B. (2009) Mechanical properties of the passive sea urchin sperm flagellum. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton, 66 (9). pp. 721-735. ISSN 0886-1544. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20090911-153603627

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Abstract

In this study we used Triton X-100 extracted sea urchin spermatozoa to investigate the mechanical behavior of the basic 9+2 axoneme. The dynein motors were disabled by vanadate so that the flagellum is rendered a passive structure. We find that when a proximal portion of the flagellum is bent with a glass microprobe, the remainder of the flagellum distal to the probe exhibits a bend in the opposite direction (a counterbend). The counterbend can be understood from the prevailing sliding doublet model of axoneme mechanics, but does require the existence of elastic linkages between the outer doublets. Analysis of the shapes of counterbends provides a consensus value of 0.03-0.08/µm^2 for the ratio of the interdoublet shear resistance (E_S) to the bending resistance (E_B) and we find that the ratio E_S/E_B is relatively conserved for both passive flagella and transiently quiescent live flagella. This ratio expresses a fundamental mechanical property of the eukaryotic axoneme. It defines the contributions to total bending resistance derived from bending the microtubules and from stretching the interdoublet linkages, respectively. Using this ratio, and computer simulations of earlier experiments that measured the total stiffness of the flagellum, we obtain estimates of approximately 1 × 10^8 pN nm^2/rad for E_B and 6 pN/rad for E_S, assuming that both elasticities are linear. Our results indicate that the behavior of the flagellum is close to that predicted by a linear model for shear elasticity.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cm.20401DOIUNSPECIFIED
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122458834/abstractPublisherUNSPECIFIED
Additional Information:© 2009 Wiley. Received: 14 November 2008; Revised: 7 April 2009; Accepted: 20 May 2009. Funded by: NSF; Grant Number: MCB-0516181
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFMCB-0516181
Subject Keywords:axoneme; cilia; counterbend; elasticity; nexin links; outer doublets; shear
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090911-153603627
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20090911-153603627
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15818
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:02 Oct 2009 21:30
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 01:03

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