Digital image analysis of the flagellar beat of activated and hyperactivated suncus spermatozoa

Takane Kaneko, Takayuki Mori, Sumio Ishijima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The flagellar beat of hyperactivated Suncus spermatozoa was analyzed by digital imaging and was compared to that of the nonhyperactivated (activated) spermatozoa in order to examine the function of the accessory fibers during the flagellar beat and the sliding filament mechanism inducing the motility of the hyperactivated spermatozoa. Unusual large and long characteristics of the accessory fibers were involved in generating the gently curved bends and a low beat frequency. Examination of the motility parameters of the flagellar beat of the activated and hyperactivated spermatozoa attached to a slide glass by their heads revealed that there were two beating modes: a frequency-curvature dependent mode in the activated flagellar beat and a nearly constant frequency mode in the hyperactivated flagellar beat. The hyperactivated flagellar beat was characterized by sharp bends in the proximal midpiece and a low beat frequency. The sharp bends in the proximal midpiece were induced by the increase in the total length of the microtubule sliding at the flagellar base. The rate of microtubule sliding (sliding velocity) in the axoneme remained almost constant in the flagellar beat of both the activated and hyperactivated spermatozoa. Comparison of the sliding velocity in Suncus, golden hamster, monkey, and sea urchin sperm flagella with their stiffness suggests that the sliding velocity is determined by the stiffness at the flagellar base and that the same sliding microtubule system functions in both mammalian and echinoderm spermatozoa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-485
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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