Author(s): Goslvez J, LpezFernndez C, Fernndez JL, Gouraud A, Holt WV
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Abstract The dynamic onset of DNA fragmentation in mammalian sperm populations varies widely in different species when the spermatozoa are incubated in vitro at body temperature for several hours, and recent studies have shown that the dynamic rate of DNA fragmentation within a species has considerable predictive value in terms of fertility. The reasons for such variation are unclear, but here we show that differences in protamine sequence and identity could be partially responsible. Sets of 10 normal semen samples from 11 species (ram, goat, boar, white-tailed deer, rabbit, human, domestic and Spanish fighting bull, horse, donkey, rhinoceros, and koala) were cryopreserved, thawed, diluted in an appropriate extender for each species, and then incubated for 4 hr at 37 °C. Semen samples from human infertility patients were also included for comparison with the donors. DNA fragmentation analysis was undertaken immediately after thawing (t(0)) and after 4 hr (t(4)) using the Halomax/Halosperm procedure, and the differences in DNA fragmentation between t(0) and t(4) were examined in the context of the respective protamine genomes. The expression of protamine 2 in a species significantly enhanced the likelihood of sperm DNA fragmentation; greater numbers of cysteine residues in protamine 1 tended to confer increased sperm DNA stability, and there were logical evolutionary relationships between species in terms of their sperm DNA stability. Human spermatozoa from infertility patients exhibited considerably higher DNA instability than the normal semen donors, a difference that could be indirectly attributed to unbalanced protamine 1-to-protamine 2 ratios. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This article was published in Mol Reprod Dev
and referenced in Andrology-Open Access