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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phosphorylation state of protamines 1 and 2 in human spermatids and spermatozoa.

The basic nuclear proteins of a fraction of elongating spermatids from human testes and of a fraction of motile spermatozoa from the ejaculate, separated by ion-exchange chromatography, were compared. Analysis by acetic acid-urea polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) showed that, in both fractions, four proteins of lower mobility were coeluted with protamine 1 by 23% guanidinium chloride (GuCl) while protamine 2 alone was eluted by 50% GuCl. Treatment with alkaline phosphatase identified those four proteins as phosphorylated protamines, and cyanogen bromide (CNBr) treatment of the dephosphorylated protamines distinguished them as variants of protamine 2 and not of protamine 1. Thus far, phosphorylated forms of protamine 1 have not been detected in either spermatids or spermatozoa. Those observations indicate that protamine 2 functions in the cycle of phosphorylation-dephosphorylation, which is essential to the process of sperm chromatin condensation, while the role of protamine 1 in human spermiogenesis is not yet defined. The presence of phosphorylated protamine in motile, presumably mature spermatozoa appears to be characteristic of human sperm but not of the sperm of other mammals and is probably the basis for the heterogeneity of chromatin condensation frequently observed in human spermatozoa.[1]


  1. Phosphorylation state of protamines 1 and 2 in human spermatids and spermatozoa. Pruslin, F.H., Imesch, E., Winston, R., Rodman, T.C. Gamete research. (1987) [Pubmed]
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