Immunoelectron microscopical visualization of ribonucleoproteins in the chromatoid body of mouse spermatids

Mol Reprod Dev. 1990 Jun;26(2):150-8. doi: 10.1002/mrd.1080260209.


The chromatoid body (CB), a cytoplasmic organelle present only in germ cell line, was studied at the electron microscopic level in mouse spermatids using cytochemical techniques and specific antibodies directed against sn-RNPs, hnRNPs, and ribosomal proteins. We found that specific staining for DNA as well as the use of monoclonal anti-DNA antibodies show a complete absence of DNA in the CB. The CB remains stained, however, after the application of the ethidium bromide-PTA technique, suggesting the presence of RNA within this organelle. snRNP as well as hnRNP proteins are demonstrated within the CB by means of specific monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies, especially during earlier spermiogenic stages. Monoclonal antibodies directed against the large ribosomal subunit proteins P1/P2 detect these antigens on the CB essentially along the internal threads of dense fibrillar material. Our findings suggest that the CB may function as a source of mRNA and/or of its partially processed precursors during the late stages of spermiogenesis, when the spermatid nucleus becomes gradually inactive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • DNA / analysis*
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Organelles / analysis*
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology
  • RNA, Heterogeneous Nuclear / analysis*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / analysis*
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear
  • Ribosomal Proteins / immunology
  • Spermatids / ultrastructure*
  • Testis / immunology
  • Testis / ultrastructure


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Heterogeneous Nuclear
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • phosphoprotein P2, ribosomal
  • ribosomal phosphoprotein P1
  • DNA