Harold E. Kasinsky

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  • History
    B.A., Columbia College (New York, 1961); Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley, 1967); Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution (Baltimore, 1967-69)
Why is there such a diversity of sperm nuclear basic proteins in animals, plants, protozoans and algae?
In somatic cells, evolutionarily conservative histones combine with DNA to form nucleosomes, fundamental particles of chromatin organization. However, in animal sperm cells, basic proteins that bind to DNA include: type 1 arginine-rich protamines of low molecular weight in salmon; type 2 arginine- and cystine-rich keratinous protamines in man and other mammals; type 3 intermediate basic proteins containing histidine and lysine as well as arginine in molluscs; type 4 somatic-like histones in echinoderms and type 5 sperm lacking basic proteins altogether in crabs.

Our investigations, extending over three decades, indicate that there is an evolutionary trend in the vertebrates from variability of sperm nuclear basic proteins in bony fish and frogs with external fertilization, to relative constancy amongst reptiles, birds and mammals where fertilization is internal. In invertebrates, sperm nuclear basic proteins in animals with internal fertilization are usually arginine-rich protamines, whereas the proteins in external fertilizers are either sperm histones, protamine-like proteins or arginine-rich protamines.

To probe this question of diversity in greater depth we are focussing on those organisms where related species show differences in their mode of reproduction. In collaboration with research groups in Victoria, B.C., and Barcelona, Spain, we are also comparing sperm nuclear basic proteins in animals with those in plants, algae and protozoans in order to determine the origins of these sperm nuclear basic proteins and their roles in the dynamic remodeling of chromatin during spermiogenesis.
Possible mechanisms for early and intermediate stages of sperm chromatin condensation patterning involving phase separation dynamics
Submitted
Harrison, L.G., H.E. Kasinsky, E. Ribes, and M. Chiva
2004
Evolution of octopod sperm: I. Comparison of nuclear morphogenesis in Eledone and Octopus.
Molecular Reproduction and Development 62:357-362
Gimenez-Bonafe, P., E. Ribes, M.J. Zamora, H.E. Kasinsky and M.Chiva
2002
Origin of H1 linker histones
FASEB Journal 15:34-42
Kasinsky, H.E., J.D. Lewis, J. Dacks and J. Ausio
2001
Characterization and evolutionary significance of the sperm nuclear basic proteins from stickleback fish
Molecular Reproduction and Development 56:1-9
Gimenez-Bonafe, P., M. Laszczak, H.E. Kasinsky, M.J. Lemke, J.D. Lewis, M. Iskander, T. He, M.G. Ikonomou, F.M. White, D.F. Hunt, M. Chiva and J. Ausio
2000
Nuclear condensation in protozoan gametes and the evolution of anisogamy
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A 124:287-295
Dacks, J.B. and H.E. Kasinsky
1999
Protamine-like sperm nuclear basic proteins in the primitive frog Ascaphus truei and histone reversions among more advanced frogs
Journal of Experimental Zoology. 284: 717-728
Kasinsky, H.E., L. Gutovich, D. Kulak, M. MacKay, D.M.Green, J. Hunt and J. Ausio
1999