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

Interaction of mammalian sperm nuclear protamines and peptides derived thereof with immobilized zinc.

The interaction of mammalian and human protamines with zinc was studied by immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC). The affinity of protamines containing blocked cysteine residues was found to correlate in part with the presence and number of histidine residues in the protamine structure: absence or low affinity of P1 protamines containing 0 or 1 histidine residue; high affinity of human P2 protamine containing 9 histidines. Nevertheless a fraction strongly retained on an IDA-Zn(II) column was observed for P1 protamines with one histidine in the N-terminal sequence (ram and boar protamines). The strong binding was found to be related to the presence of tyrosine, serine and threonine closely spaced to the histidyl side chain. In the case of human protamine P2, the strong retention on the IDA-Zn(II) column seems to result from the additive contribution of all the histidine residues of the molecule. Thus, strong retention of protamines in IMAC seems to depend on an additive contribution of amino-acid side chains: histidine, tyrosine, serine, threonine and perhaps arginine. The high affinity of protamines, more especially P2 protamines, for zinc suggests that this metal ion could play a role for their correct folding and binding to DNA.[1]


  1. Interaction of mammalian sperm nuclear protamines and peptides derived thereof with immobilized zinc. Bianchi, F., Rousseaux-Prevost, R., Hublau, P., Rousseaux, J. Int. J. Pept. Protein Res. (1994) [Pubmed]
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