The free-living nematode, Caenorhaditis briggsae, is being used in our laboratory to study the complex events associated with biological aging. Our approach to this problem involved first the defining of parameters characterizing senescence in this animal, and then evaluating the effects on these aging signs of a drug reported to have a modifying effect on some aspects of the aging processes. Reference in this report to this preparation, Gerovital H3 (2% procaine hydrochloride, 0.16% benzoic acid, 0.14% potassium metabisulfite, buffered to pH 3.3 from Rom-Amer Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., Beverly Hills, California) is by its active ingredient, "Procaine".
Form follows function, and this maxim is particularly true for the nematode sperm cell. Motility is essential for fertilization, and the process of spermatogenesis culminates in the production of a crawling spermatozoon with an extended pseudopod. However, the morphological similarity to amoeboid cells of other organisms is not conserved at the molecular level. Instead of utilizing the actin cytoskeleton and motor proteins, the pseudopod moves via the regulated assembly and disassembly of filaments composed of the major sperm protein (MSP). The current work reviews the structure and dynamics of MSP filament formation, the critical role of pH in MSP assembly, and the recent identification of components that regulate this process. The combination of cytological, biochemical, and genetic approaches in this relatively simple system make nematode sperm an attractive model for investigating the mechanics of amoeboid cell motility.