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Cell. 1991 May 17;65(4):569-78.

Sperm decondensation in Xenopus egg cytoplasm is mediated by nucleoplasmin.

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Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, England.


At fertilization, sperm chromatin decondenses in two stages, which can be mimicked in extracts of Xenopus eggs. Rapid, limited decondensation is followed by slower, membrane-dependent decondensation and swelling. Nucleoplasmin, an acidic nuclear protein, occurs at high concentration in Xenopus eggs and has a histone-binding role in nucleosome assembly. Immunodepleting nucleoplasmin from egg extracts inhibits the initial rapid stage of sperm decondensation, and also the decondensation of myeloma nuclei, relative to controls of mock depletion and TFIIIA depletion. Readdition of purified nucleoplasmin recues depleted extracts. A physiological concentration of purified nucleoplasmin alone decondenses both sperm and myeloma nuclei. We conclude that nucleoplasmin is both necessary and sufficient for the first stage of sperm decondensation in Xenopus eggs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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