Uptake of exogenous DNA by mammalian spermatozoa: Specific localization of DNA on sperm heads

A. Camaioni, M. A. Russo, T. Odorisio, F. Gandolfi, V. M. Fazio, G. Siracusa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When mouse spermatozoa were briefly exposed in culture to radioactively labelled DNA (pSV2CAT plasmid), radioactivity could be detected by high-resolution autoradiography on the surface and within the nucleus of the spermatozoa. Spermatozoa from other mammalian species (boar, bull, man) could also bind foreign DNA. With the exclusion of human spermatozoa, which in most experiments showed very low labelling values, labelling percentages (evaluated by light microscope autoradiography) ranged between 39 and 78%. In all four species the DNA-binding ability was mainly confined to a specific region of the sperm head (equatorial segment and postacrosomal region), and the sperm DNA association kinetics were rapid (maximum values were reached within 20-40 min). The data also indicate that factor(s) in seminal plasma might protect spermatozoa from accidental transfection by foreign DNA that may be present in the genital tracts from bacterial or viral sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Fertility
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • DNA
  • Heparin
  • Spermatozoa
  • Transfection
  • Transgenic animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Embryology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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