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|These are sperm cells from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Initially spherical, these cells gain their unusual amoeboid motility through a complex signaling pathway. The LaMunyon lab has found that components of the pathway resemble important human proteins. For instance, the sperm become prematurely active when the spe-4 gene is mutated. spe-4 is a homolog of human Presenilin 1, a gene involved in early onset Alzheimer's Disease. Several other genes involved in C. elegans sperm cell function have human disease gene homologs, meaning that by studying these amazing cells, we can learn about human diseases.
Stem Cell Research
|Learning and Assessment|