AskDefine | Define protamine

Dictionary Definition

protamine n : a simple protein found in fish sperm; rich in arginine; simpler in composition than globulin or albumin; counteracts the anticoagulant effect of heparin

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. any of a class of proteins, rich in arginine, found in the sperm of fish; used medicinally to control the action of insulin

Extensive Definition

Protamines are small, arginine-rich, nuclear proteins that replace histones late in the haploid phase of spermatogenesis and are believed essential for sperm head condensation and DNA stabilization.


When mixed with insulin, protamines slow down the onset and increase the duration of insulin action (see NPH insulin).
Protamine sulfate is an antidote for heparin.


Mice, humans, and certain fish have 2 or more different protamines, whereas the sperm of bull, boar, rat, rabbit, guinea pig, and ram have one form of protamine.


The 2 human protamines are denoted and .


Examples of protamines from fish are:


External links

protamine in German: Protamin
protamine in Italian: Protammina
protamine in Japanese: プロタミン
protamine in Polish: Protaminy
protamine in Russian: Протамины
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