Ultrastructural, autoradiographic and electrophoretic examinations of Chara tomentosa spermiogenesis

Maria Kwiatkowska, Andrzej Kaźmierczak, Katarzyna Popłońska


Ultrastructure of a spermatid nucleus changes many times during spermiogenesis. Condensed chromatin forms irregular clusters during phases I-II, a continuous ring adjacent to a nuclear envelope during phases III-V and a network occupying the whole nucleus during phase VI. In advanced spermiogenesis dense chromatin disappears and short randomly positioned fibrils arise, then long parallel ones are found (phase VIII) which during phase IX form a lamellar structure. In mature spermatozoids (phase X) chromatin becomes extremely condensed. 3H-arginine and 3H-lysine incorporation into spermatids during 2-min incubation is intensive during phases IN, decreases during phases VI, VII and becomes very low during phases VIII-IX. Capillary electrophoresis has shown that during Chara tomentosa spermiogenesis replacement of histones with basic proteins whose mobility is comparable to that of salmon protamines takes place. At the beginning of spermiogenesis core and linker histones are found in spermatids. During early spermiogenesis protamine-like proteins appear and their amount increases in late spermiogenesis when core histones are still present. In mature spermatozoids only protamine-like proteins represented by 3 fractions: 9.1 kDa, 9.6 kDa, 11.2 kDa are found. Disappearance of linker histones following their modification precedes disappearance of core histones. The results indicate that dynamic rearrangement of chromatin ultrastructure and aminoacid incorporation rate during spermiogenesis are reflected in basic nuclear protein changes.


Chara tomentosa; spermiogenesis; histones; protamine-like proteins; ultrastructure; autoradiography; capillar electrophoresis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5586/asbp.2002.024

Journal ISSN:
  • 2083-9480 (online)
  • 0001-6977 (print; ceased since 2016)
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