Septins at the annulus of mammalian sperm

Toure, Aminata and Rode, Baptiste and Hunnicutt, Gary R and Escalier, Denise and Gacon, Gérard


The annulus is an electron-dense ring structure connecting the midpiece and the principal piece of the mammalian sperm flagellum. Proteins from the septin family have been shown to localize to the annulus. A septin complex is assembled early in spermiogenesis with the cochaperone DNAJB13 and, in mature sperm, associates with Testis Anion Transporter 1; SLC26A8 (Tat1), a transmembrane protein of the SLC26 family. Studies in mice have shown that the annulus acts as a barrier to protein diffusion and controls correct organization of the midpiece. Consistent with these findings, absence of the annulus is associated with flagellum differentiation defects and asthenozoospermia in humans.