During spermiogenesis of an alga Chara vulgaris, which in many aspects resembles that of animals, histones are replaced by protamine-type proteins. Our earlier immunocytochemical studies showed that this replacement started during the short stage V of spermiogenesis, when electronograms revealed an extensive system of cisternae and vesicles of endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The present studies revealed at stage V intensive incorporation of labeled 3H-arginine and 3H-lysine quickly translocating into a nucleus visualized with pulse-chase autoradiography of semithin sections. The immunogold technique with the use of the antibodies to protamine-type proteins isolated from Chara tomentosa show that both ER cisternae and vesicles are labeled with gold grains, which are absent from the spermatids not treated with the antibodies; thus, the ER is probably the site of the protamine-type protein synthesis. These proteins then are translocated to a nucleus through ER channels connected with the nuclear envelope, as suggested by gold labeling of an inner membrane of the nuclear envelope adjacent to condensed chromatin. The above results correspond with those of other authors showing that in animals, protamines bind with lamin B receptors localized in the inner membrane of the nuclear envelope. A hypothesis has been put forward that during Chara spermiogenesis the inner membrane of the nuclear envelope invaginates into a nucleus together with protamine-type proteins, which become separated from the membrane and penetrate into chromatin.
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Vol. 80 • No. 3