Alkali-labile sites in sperm cells from Sus and Ovis species

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SummaryConstitutive alkali-labile sites (ALSs) have been investigated using a protocol of DNA breakage detection–fluorescence in situ hybridization (DBD–FISH) in sperm cells from Sus domesticus (pig), Ovis gmelini musimon (mouflon) and Ovis aries (sheep). The results were compared with those obtained using leucocytes from the same species. Whole comparative genomic hybridization (W-CGH) showed that most of the constitutive ALSs in somatic and germ line cells in all species examined were constrained to particular repetitive satellite DNA sequences located in the pericentromeric constitutive heterochromatin of each chromosome. However, their relative abundance was different among cells of the same organism (leucocytes/sperm cells), and this trend was not maintained when the different species were compared. Thus, in mouflon, the density of ALSs in leucocytes when compared with that observed in sperm cells indicated abundance of the order of eight times less. In sheep, both leucocytes and sperm cells exhibited a large quantity of ALSs, being of the order of four times more abundant in sperm cells. In the pig genome, leucocytes showed a high abundance of ALSs (of the order of 12 times more that in sperm cells) but only involved the metacentric chromosomes of the karyotype. ALSs were not present in the acrocentric chromosomes. Contrary to mouflon and sheep, ALSs were relatively scarce in sperm cells from pig. These results suggest that ALSs are a transient structural feature in the cells of any organisms and point to a non-universal model of chromatin organization in sperm cells among mammals.

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