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Title: Structure of chromatin, protein transitions, and post-translational histone modifications in several sperm models
Author: Kurtz, Katryn Lucille
Director: Chiva i Royo, Manuel
Keywords: Proteïna
Issue Date: 12-Dec-2008
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] The study of chromatin structure in several simple sperm models of increasing complexity was performed. Species demonstrating different types of sperm nuclear protein transitions and structural changes in spermatic chromatin during spermiogenesis were selected as models for comparison: "H" (non-histone proteins are removed), "H->P" (protamine displaces histones), and "H->Pp->P" (precursor protamine displaces histones, and subsequently is converted into the mature protamine). This study has an evolutionary focus, in which a primitive sperm model is identified, from which more complex models may have risen during evolution. The final sperm characteristics achieved are considered to be caused by the changes the immature sperm cell undergoes during the process of spermiogenesis, and are correlated to an adaptation to the fertilization biology of each species. A broader understanding of the variety of sperm shapes, their chemical variability, and the spermatic chromatin condensation patterns pertaining to species of these simple spermiogenic models has been achieved. In this study, the diversity in sperm characteristics is extrapolated to the function the sperm cell has to pass on its genetic material to achieve fertilization of the egg of its own species. For three different models using four marine species, protein transitions, chromatin condensation, and acetylation patterns were described during spermiogeneis. Specifically, changes in chromatin architecture and its protein complement was extensively studied using mainly transmission electron microscopy, inmunocytochemistry using anti-histone, anti-precursor protamine, and anti-acetyl group antibodies, as well as high resolution polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and western blotting. A model of specialized sperm chromatin (crustacean type) has been included in this study, since for decades this type of chromatin has remained poorly understood. Crustacean type sperm, once believed to have nuclei void of basic DNA-associated proteins, was found to contain histones, and is considered a derivation of the "H" model. Three species of brachyuran crabs from two different families were used to compositionally and ultrastructurally study this unusually decondensed mature sperm chromatin. Characterization of the histones from these sperm using HPLC and amino acid analysis confirm that the basic proteins extracted from sperm of these crabs are indeed typical and canonical histones, though some appear modified by post-translational modifications such as acetylation, which has never before been described in mature sperm. Additionally, in Maja brachydactyla, histones H3 and H2B appear in stoichiometric amounts different to what would be found in somatic chromatin. By performing micrococcal nuclease digestions, the presence of nucleosomes (or nucleosome-like particles) in the sperm of these species was confirmed, and demonstrated that histones are found interacting with the sperm DNA. Further, the histone/DNA ratio was evaluated in two Cancer species, and it was determined that these sperm only contain slightly over half the amount of basic protein per DNA unit compared to other sperm types. These results concerning the composition of the crustacean-type sperm chromatin help to explain its decondensed nature.
ISBN: 9788469216057
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Ciències Fisiològiques II

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