Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 333–346

Vertebrate protamine gene evolution I. Sequence alignments and gene structure

  • Rafael Oliva
  • Gordon H. Dixon


The availability of the amino acid sequence for nine different mammalian P1 family protamines and the revised amino acid sequence of the chicken protamine galline (Oliva and Dixon 1989) reveals a much close relationship between mammalian and avian protamines than was previously thought (Nakano et al. 1976). Dot matrix analysis of all protamine genes for which genomic DNA or cDNA sequence is available reveals both marked sequence similarities in the mammalian protamine gene family and internal repeated sequences in the chicken protamine gene. The detailed alignments of the cis-acting regulatory DNA sequences shows several consensus sequence patterns, particularly the conservation of a cAMP response element (CRE) in all the protamine genes and of the regions flanking the TATA box, CAP site, N-terminal coding region, and polyadenylation signal. In addition we have found a high frequency of the CA dinucleotide immediately adjacent to the CRE element of both the protamine genes and the testis transition proteins, a feature not present in other genes, which suggests the existence of an extended CRE motif involved in the coordinate expression of protamine and transition protein genes during spermatogenesis. Overall these findings suggest the existence of an avian-mammalian P1 protamine gene line and are discussed in the context of different hypotheses for protamine gene evolution and regulation.

Key words

Protamine Evolution Nuclear protein DNA condensation Sperm proteins 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Oliva
    • 1
  • Gordon H. Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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