Evidence for nuclear internalization of exogenous DNA into mammalian sperm cells

M. Francolini, M. Lavitrano, C. L. Lamia, D. French, L. Frati, F. Cotelli, C. Spadafora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mature sperm cells have the spontaneous capacity to take up exogenous DNA. Such DNA specifically interacts with the subacrosomal segment of the sperm head corresponding to the nuclear area. Part of the sperm-bound foreign DNA is further internalized into nuclei. Using end-labelled plasmid DNA we have found that 15-22% of the total sperm bound DNA is associated with nuclei as determined on isolated nuclei. On the basis of autoradiographic analysis, nuclear permeability to exogenous DNA seems to be a wide phenomenon involving the majority of the sperm nuclei. In fact, the foreign DNA, incubated with sperm cells for different lengths of time, is found in 45% (10 min) to 65% (2 hr) of the sperm nuclei. Ultrastructural autoradiography on thin sections of mammalian spermatozoa, preincubated with end-labelled plasmid DNA, shows that the exogenous DNA is internalized into the nucleus. This conclusion is further supported by ultrastructural autoradiographic analysis on thin sections of nuclei isolated from spermatozoa preincubated with end-labelled DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Plasmid DNA
  • Sperm bound DNA
  • Sperm-DNA interaction
  • Transgenic animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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