Ann O. Sperry, Ph.D.

Ann O. Sperry


office: Brody 7N-59A
phone: 252-744-2841

B.S., Texas A&M University
Ph.D., Rice University
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center


Studies in our laboratory are focused on how the cell’s cytoskeleton changes during growth and differentiation. We utilize mammalian spermatogenesis as a model system to understand how molecular motors and regulatory proteins participate in the dramatic morphological changes that occur as the round male germ cell precursor cell transforms into the highly polar sperm.

During spermatogenesis, the microtubule cytoskeleton rearranges to form the mitotic and meiotic spindles as well as forming the sperm flagella, essential for sperm motility and therefore for fertility. The molecular mechanisms responsible for these dramatic transformations are not well understood.  We have identified a protein associated with the basal body, from which the flagellum is generated, as a regulator of the central phosphatase Protein Phosphatase 1 (PP1). We hypothesize that this regulatory protein is important in biogenesis of the flagella through its activation of PP1.  We are currently characterizing the signaling pathway regulating the formation of the flagella in sperm and sensory cilia in cultured cells, a structure analogous to flagella.

Selected Publications

Sperry, A.O., and L.-P.Zhao. 1996. Kinesin-related proteins in the mammalian testes: candidate motors for meiosis and morphogenesis (pdf). Mol. Biol. Cell 7: 289-305.

Navolanic, P.M. and A.O. Sperry. 2000. Identification of isoforms of a mitotic motor in mammalian spermatogenesis (pdf). Biol. Reprod. 62: 1360-1369.

Zou, Y., C.F. Millette, and A.O. Sperry. 2002. KRP3A and KRP3B: candidate motors for spermatid maturation in the seminiferous epithelium (pdf). Biol. Reprod. 66: 843-855.

Yang, W.-X., and A.O. Sperry. 2003. C-Terminal kinesin motor KIFC1 participates in acrosome biogenesis and vesicle transport (pdf). Biol. Reprod. 69:1719-1729.

Zhang, Y. and A.O. Sperry. 2004. Comparative analysis of two C-terminal kinesin motor proteins: KIFC1 and KIFC5A (pdf). Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 58:213-230.

Yang, W.-X., H. Jefferson, and A.O. Sperry. 2006. The molecular motor KIFC1 associates with a complex containing nucleoporin NUP62 that is regulated during development and by the small GTPase RAN (pdf). Biol. Reprod. 74: 684-690.

Nath, S., E. Bananis, S. Sarkar, J.W. Murray, R.J. Stockert, A.O. Sperry, and A.W. Wolkoff. 2007. Kif5B and Kifc1 interact and are required for motility and fission of early endocytic vesicles in mouse liver (pdf). Mol. Biol. Cell 18: 1839–1849.

Sickles, D.W., A.O. Sperry, A. Testino, and M. Friedman. 2007. Acrylamide effects on kinesin-related proteins of the mitotic/meiotic spindle (pdf). Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 22: 111–121.

Wang, R., and A.O. Sperry. 2008. Identification of a novel leucine-rich repeat protein and candidate PP1 regulatory subunit expressed in developing spermatids (pdf). BMC Cell Biol. 9:9.

Wang, R., A. Kaul, and A.O. Sperry. 2010. TLRR (lrrc67) interacts with PP1 and is associated with a cytoskeletal complex in the testis (pdf). Biol. Cell. 102:173–189.

Wang, R. and A.O. Sperry. 2011. PP1 forms an active complex with TLRR (lrrc67), a putative PP1 regulatory subunit, during the early stages of spermiogenesis in mice. PLoS ONE 6:e21767.

Sperry, A.O. 2012. The dynamic cytoskeleton of the developing male germ cell. Biol. Cell 104: 297-305.

DeVaul, N. R. Wang, and A.O. Sperry. 2013. PPP1R42, a PP1 binding protein, regulates centrosome dynamics in ARPE-19 cells. Biol Cell. 105:359-71.

View PubMed Publications for further listings

Current Funding

"Protein Phosphatase-1: A Molecular Switch for Centrosome Fate in Spermatogenesis"; Ann O. Sperry, Principal Investigator; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 5/10/2014-4/30/2017.

Staff and Students

Location: 7N-59 and 7N-90

Name Title Phone Email
Alan-Michael Bresch Graduate Student 252-744-2861
Marquita Johnson Postdoctoral Fellow 252-744-2842
Rong Wang Research Technician 252-744-2861

Former Students and Post-Doctoral Fellows

Name Title Location
Nicole Devaul, Ph.D. Assistant Professor The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC
Kristjan Thompson, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, Mercer University, Savannah, GA
Wan-Xi Yang, Ph.D. Associate Professor College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hanzhou, China
Yuguo Zhang, Ph.D.   Raleigh, NC