The survival curves for a population of reactivated spermatozoa exposed to digestion by trypsin indicate that a large number of trypsin-sensitive targets must be digested before the flagellum disintegrates. Changes in flagellar movement during trypsin digestion can be very small, especially when the spermatozoa are reactivated at 0.25 M KCl. They are not the changes which would be expected if elastic resistance of the trypsin-sensitive structures responsible for maintaining the integrity of the axoneme is a significant determinant of flagellar bend amplitude. By carrying out trypsin digestion under a variety of conditions, at least six distinct effects of trypsin digestion on parameters of flagellar movement have been detected. These include a gradual increase in the rate of sliding between tubules, gradual and abrupt changes in beat frequency accompanied by reciprocal decreases in bend angle, changes in the symmetry and planarity of bending, and selective interference with mechanisms for bend initiation and bend propagation.

This content is only available as a PDF.