Correlation Engine 2.0
Clear Search sequence regions

The sperm nucleus has a unique chromatin structure where the DNA is highly condensed and associated with specific proteins, the protamines. It is a nondividing cell which is also transcriptionally inactive. After fusion with an oocyte, the sperm nucleus undergoes decondensation and, in the same time, starts replication and transcription. It has been suggested that somatic chromosomes during interphase are organized in territories which display a cell type and cell cycle specific distribution. The purpose of this work was to investigate whether chromosomes would also have a specific distribution in the sperm nucleus, which could be related to its inactive state, and have implications on the early stages of fertilization. In the present study, centromeric and telomeric sequences were detected by fluorescent techniques performed on human decondensed spermatozoa. Chromosome painting probes were used to detect the chromosome X and chromosome 13 on interphase sperm nuclei. The fluorescent signals were captured in 3D with a confocal microscope. For each of these chromatin structures, the volume, position, and distribution of the signals were analyzed in samples of 30 nuclei with the help of image analysis software. The centromeres appeared grouped in several foci that were randomly distributed within the sperm nucleus. The telomeres gave an approximately haploid number of small signals, evenly distributed throughout the nucleus. The chromosomes X and 13 occupied 4.7% and 3. 7% of the total nuclear volume, respectively. Interestingly, the X chromosome territory showed a preferential position in the anterior half of the volume of the nucleus, whereas chromosome 13 had a random position. This work shows a particular distribution of chromosome territories in the human sperm nucleus that could be related to mechanisms implicated in its specific functions. The analysis of more chromosomes and chromosomal structures, including the Y chromosome, would help to understand the structure of the human sperm chromatin, and its fundamental and clinical implications. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


M Hazzouri, S Rousseaux, F Mongelard, Y Usson, R Pelletier, A K Faure, C Vourc'h, B Sèle. Genome organization in the human sperm nucleus studied by FISH and confocal microscopy. Molecular reproduction and development. 2000 Mar;55(3):307-15

Expand section icon Mesh Tags

Expand section icon Substances

PMID: 10657050

View Full Text