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Ubiquitin tag for sperm mitochondria

Nature volume 402, pages 371372 (25 November 1999) | Download Citation

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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.

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Affiliations

  1. Oregon Regional Primate Research Center and Departments of Cell-Developmental Biology and Obstetrics-Gynecology, Oregon Health Sciences University, 505 NW 185th Avenue, Beaverton, Oregon 97006, USA

    • Peter Sutovsky
    • , Tanja Dominko
    • , Calvin Simerly
    •  & Gerald Schatten
  2. *International Center for Cancer Research and Developmental Biology, Santiago, Chile

    • Ricardo D. Moreno
  3. †Center for Neuroscience, Department of Zoology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

    • João Ramalho-Santos

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Correspondence to Gerald Schatten.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/46466

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