DNA Packaging in Sperm

Abstract

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.

Bedford JM and Calvin HI (1974) The occurrence and possible functional significance of ‐S‐S‐ crosslinks in sperm heads, with particular reference to eutherian mammals. Journal of Experimental Zoology 188: 137–155.

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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How to Cite close
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]