DNA Packaging in Sperm


The chromatin constitution of spermatozoa differs from that of all other cell types. The DNA is mainly associated with basic chromosomal proteins that are different from the otherwise universal histones, allowing packaging of the chromatin in a much smaller volume. Other biological functions in addition to a higher degree of chromatin compaction may be related to the difference in chromatin constitution but their nature is speculative.

Keywords: chromatin; protamine; histone; sperm nucleus; spermatogenesis

Figure 1.

Architecture of a human sperm nucleus. Three of the four telomeres of the two homologues of chromosome 2 are visible. They are attached to the nuclear membrane. The centromeres of chromosome 2 and of other chromosomes form a chromocentre inside the nucleus. From Zalensky et al. .



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Further Reading

Afzelius BA (ed.) (1975) The Functional Anatomy of the Spermatozoon. New York: Pergamon Press.

André J (ed.) (1983) The Sperm Cell. The Hague, Holland: Martinus Nijhoff.

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Jamieson BGM (1987) The Ultrastructure and Phylogeny of Insect Spermatozoa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Ward WS and Coffey DS (1991) DNA packaging and organization in mammalian spermatozoa: comparison with somatic cells. Biology of Reproduction 44: 569–574.

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Hennig, Wolfgang(Sep 2005) DNA Packaging in Sperm. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003846]