Lipids and sperm function
Supervisor: Klaus Reinhardt
Background: Lipids from the food (=dietary lipids, DL) are directly incorporated into membranes and determine the survival under different temperatures (Brankatschk et al. 2018), i.e. plant-based lipids enhance survival in the cold, yeast-based lipids in the heat. DL also make it directly into sperm membranes. Sperm membranes affect sperm function, including sperm viability, sperm motility, sperm metabolism in the male, and in the female, or sperm competition. Interestingly, animals can choose the lipids that are best for the survival under current temperatures but we don’t know whether this is true for reproduction, too (it should be, if Darwin was right).
Several possible topics can be explored: Do specific dietary lipids affect sperm function under different temperatures? And what sperm function is most affected? Do males (fruit flies it is likely to be) choose the lipids that are best for the sperm function under the given temperature? How do sperm lipids affect sperm competition over time?
Guo & Reinhardt 2020. J. evol. Biol., and references in there. pdf.
Brankatschk et al. 2018. Dev. Cell. Link