Letter | Published:

H-2d Antigens on Mouse Spermatozoa

Nature volume 222, pages 12931294 (28 June 1969) | Download Citation



THE view that the phenotype of mammalian gametes does not reflect their haploid genotype but rather the gene content of their diploid parent still predominates in mammalian genetics. But the differential melanizing activity, in the presence of dihydroxyphenylalanine, of spermatozoa from rabbits of different coat-colour genotypes1 suggests haploid gene action in mammalian gametes. And the very irregular transmission ratios of some alleles of the T-locus (brachyury) in the mouse provide very clear examples of gene action in spermatozoa2,3. These findings justified a search for further evidence on gene action in mammalian spermatozoa. Histocompatibility antigens might be suitable markers of such action; they are present on the membrane of many types of mammalian cells, probably associated with general cell physiology rather than with specific functions of differentiated cells. Here we report that mouse spermatozoa of the genotype H-2d absorb specific H-2d antibodies. Whether the diploid prereduction or haploid postreduction activity of the H-2 locus is responsible for the presence of H-2 antigens on spermatozoa remains to be elucidated.

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    Present address: Institute of Experimental Biology and Genetics, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague 4, Budějovická 1083.


  1. Department of Genetics and ARC Unit of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh.



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