The major sperm protein (MSP) is a nematode specific small protein of 126 amino acids with a molecular weight of 14 kDa. It is the key player in the motility machinery of nematodes that propels the crawling movement/motility of nematode sperm. It is the most abundant protein present in nematode sperm, comprising 15% of the total protein and more than 40% of the soluble protein. MSP is exclusively synthesized in spermatocytes of the nematodes. The MSP has two main functions in the reproduction of the helminthes: i) as cytosolic component it is responsible for the crawling movement of the mature sperm (without flagellum), and ii) once released, it acts as hormone on the female germ cells, where it triggers oocyte maturation and stimulates the oviduct wall to contract to bring the oocytes into position for fertilization. MSP has first been identified in Caenorhabditis elegans.
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