The centromere specific histone CENP-A is selectively retained in discrete foci in mammalian sperm nuclei

Chromosoma. 1990 Dec;100(1):32-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00337600.


The 17 kDa human autoantigen designated CENP-A is a centromere specific histone. We show here that CENP-A is present in tissue of bovine origin, and that it is quantitatively retained in mature spermatozoa. This result is striking, as a prominent feature of spermatogenesis in mammals is the replacement of most somatic and testes specific histones with protamines. Indirect immunofluorescence studies further show that CENP-A is retained in sperm nuclei in discrete foci, rather than being dispersed throughout the sperm head. These observations suggest that CENP-A is a functionally important component of centromeres, and that pre-existing CENP-A:DNA interactions are likely to be important in organizing the centromeres of the paternal genome during early embryogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantigens / analysis*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Centromere / chemistry*
  • Centromere Protein A
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / analysis*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • HeLa Cells
  • Histones / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Male
  • Protamines
  • Spermatozoa / chemistry*
  • Thymus Gland / chemistry
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Autoantigens
  • CENPA protein, human
  • Centromere Protein A
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Histones
  • Protamines