Nucleosomal domains of mouse spermatozoa chromatin as potential sites for retroposition and foreign DNA integration

Mol Reprod Dev. 2000 Jun;56(2 Suppl):248-51. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2795(200006)56:2+<248::AID-MRD7>3.0.CO;2-V.


Exogenous DNA molecules are spontaneously taken up by sperm cells, internalized in nuclei, and eventually integrated in the sperm genome. The actual occurrence of the integration suggests that the sperm chromosomal DNA is not uniformly and tightly packed with protamines, implying the existence of genomic sites where the chromosomal DNA is accessible to foreign molecules. We have characterized a hypersensitive, nucleosomal subfraction of mouse sperm chromatin that is highly enriched in unmethylated retroposon DNA from a variety of families. Here we propose that both the integration of exogenous DNA molecules, and the endogenous retroposition activity, occur in the same site(s) of sperm chromatin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nucleosomes / genetics*
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Retroelements*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*
  • Spermatozoa / ultrastructure


  • Chromatin
  • Nucleosomes
  • Retroelements