Diverse functions of myosin VI in spermiogenesis

Przemysław Zakrzewski, Marta Lenartowska, Folma Buss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Spermiogenesis is the final stage of spermatogenesis, a differentiation process during which unpolarized spermatids undergo excessive remodeling that results in the formation of sperm. The actin cytoskeleton and associated actin-binding proteins play crucial roles during this process regulating organelle or vesicle delivery/segregation and forming unique testicular structures involved in spermatid remodeling. In addition, several myosin motor proteins including MYO6 generate force and movement during sperm differentiation. MYO6 is highly unusual as it moves towards the minus end of actin filaments in the opposite direction to other myosin motors. This specialized feature of MYO6 may explain the many proposed functions of this myosin in a wide array of cellular processes in animal cells, including endocytosis, secretion, stabilization of the Golgi complex, and regulation of actin dynamics. These diverse roles of MYO6 are mediated by a range of specialized cargo-adaptor proteins that link this myosin to distinct cellular compartments and processes. During sperm development in a number of different organisms, MYO6 carries out pivotal functions. In Drosophila, the MYO6 ortholog regulates actin reorganization during spermatid individualization and male KO flies are sterile. In C. elegans, the MYO6 ortholog mediates asymmetric segregation of cytosolic material and spermatid budding through cytokinesis, whereas in mice, this myosin regulates assembly of highly specialized actin-rich structures and formation of membrane compartments to allow the formation of fully differentiated sperm. In this review, we will present an overview and compare the diverse function of MYO6 in the specialized adaptations of spermiogenesis in flies, worms, and mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-340
Number of pages18
JournalHistochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by PRELUDIUM grant from the National Science Centre (Poland) to PZ (2017/25/N/NZ3/00487), a ETIUDA doctoral scholarship from the National Science Centre (Poland) to PZ (2018/28/T/NZ3/00002), a travelling fellowship funded by The Company of Biologists to PZ (JCSTF-171105 (to P.Z.), and a Medical Research Council grant to FB (MR/K000888/1). CIMR is supported by the Wellcome Trust with a strategic award (100140) and an equipment grant (093026).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Actin
  • C. elegans
  • Drosophila
  • Mouse
  • Myosin VI
  • Spermiogenesis


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