Getting poster data...
Aleona Swegen (University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia)The spermatozoon is a unique cell in the mammalian organism and is tasked with a seemingly impossible mission: to enter a foreign organism and pursue a single, distant oocyte. With no capacity to synthesise new proteins, it must undergo a complex maturation process whilst traversing myriad physiological obstacles, until it reaches and fertilises the oocyte. Often likened to "searching for a needle in a haystack", this process is as obscure as it is perilous, and we are yet to grasp the entire repertoire of protein interactions and modifications that must take place to ensure a successful journey. A comprehensive overview of this process as a whole is imperative to gaining deeper understanding of how sperm mature, capacitate, and finally locate and recognise the oocyte. Such an overview cannot be provided by a review paper or a list of proteins; a multidimensional and interactive approach is necessary to capture the dynamic and complex nature of the spermatozoon's journey. We propose that this could be achieved by developing a visually driven database, where a sperm cell's lifetime is reconstructed as a series of storylines representing interacting proteins and their modifications.