Brief Communication | Published:

Development

Ubiquitin tag for sperm mitochondria

Abstract

Like other mammals, humans inherit mitochondria from the mother only, even though the sperm contributes nearly one hundred mitochondria to the fertilized egg. In support of the idea that this strictly maternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA arises from the selective destruction of sperm mitochondria1,2, we show here that sperm mitochondria inside fertilized cow and monkey eggs are tagged by the recycling marker protein ubiquitin3. This imprint is a death sentence that is written during spermatogenesis and executed after the sperm mitochondria encounter the egg's cytoplasmic destruction machinery.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Hutchinson, C. A., Newbold, J. E. & Potter, S. S. Nature 251, 536–538 (1974).

  2. 2

    Giles, R. E., Blanc, H., Cann, H. M. & Wallace, D. C. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 77 6715–6719 (1980).

  3. 3

    Ciechanover, A. Cell 79, 13–21 (1994).

  4. 4

    Perreault, S. D., Wolf, R. A. & Zirkin, B. R. Dev. Biol. 101, 160–167 (1984).

  5. 5

    Szöllösi, D. J. Exp. Zool. 159, 367–378 (1965).

  6. 6

    Sutovsky, P., Navara, C. S. & Schatten, G. Biol. Reprod. 55, 1195–1205 (1996).

  7. 7

    Cummins, J. M., Wakayama, T. & Yanagimachi, R. Zygote 5, 301–308 (1997).

  8. 8

    Gyllensten, U., Wharton, D., Josefsson, A. & Wilson, A. C. Nature 352 255–257 (1991).

  9. 9

    Kaneda, H. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 92, 4542–4546 (1995).

  10. 10

    Fisk, H. A. & Yaffe, M. P. J. Cell Biol. 145, 1199–1208 (1999).

  11. 11

    Choongkittaworn, N. M., Kim, K. H., Danner, D. B. & Griswold, M. D. Biol. Reprod. 49, 300–310 (1993).

  12. 12

    Kato, Y. et al. Science 282, 2095–2098 (1998).

  13. 13

    Renard, J. P. et al. Lancet 353, 1489–1491 (1999).

  14. 14

    Barrit, J. et al. Fertil. Steril. 72, 31–32 (1999).

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Gerald Schatten.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading

Figure 1: Ubiquitination of sperm mitochondria in mammalian zygotes and embryos.

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.