Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Telling Tails

Role of protein called CEP128 in healthy sperm development revealed

22 April 2022

Telling Tails

Building a new cell – or a new life – requires patterns of genes and proteins to work together. A mutation to a single gene can have a massive impact on this team effort. Compared to the healthy sperm on the left, those on the right – donated by two brothers with the same genetic mutation – haven’t formed correctly. Researchers find their mutation changes a single amino acid – one of thousands that make a protein called CEP128. This ‘tiny’ change has big knock-on effects – CEP128 usually helps to form the centrosome – a sort of molecular compass that cells use to guide development. Faulty CEP128 leads to developmental problems with sperm’s tail-like flagella. Investigating further in mice, the team reveal disrupting the balance of healthy CEP128 – having too little or even too much – snarls up the working of spermatogenesis which in turn leads to infertility, making centrosome proteins an interesting target for future treatments.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.