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Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2003) 5, 315–324;

Human protamines and the developing spermatid: their structure, function, expression and relationship with male infertility

V.W. Aoki, D.T. Carrell

Andrology and IVF Laboratories, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA

Advance online publication 1 December 2003


During spermiogenesis, the protamine proteins play an integral role in spermatid chromatin compaction. Recent research has focused on many facets of protamine biology, including protamine gene and protein structure/function relationships, mechanisms of protamine expression regulation and involvement of the protamines in male fertility. In this paper, we review our current understanding of the structure and function of the protamine-1 (P1) and protamine-2 (P2) proteins and genes, the expression and regulation of these genes and the relationship between the protamines and male fertility. In addition, we offer a brief outlook on future investigation into protamine proteins.

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