• a group of nuclear proteins found in the sperm of many animals
  • may have a role in the maturation of spermies and/or protect the genetic material (haploid chromosomal DNA, natch) that they carry - thus they may have a role in male infertility (i.e. if your protamines are mutated or expressed at abnormal levels, you're probably going to have to adopt)
  • are used to make neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin, an intermediate-acting form of insulin that is formulated such that when it is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) the insulin will be absorbed in a manner that closely resembles how it is normally released by the pancreas into the body AND it will last longer than regular old insulin and so reduces the number of daily injections required by diabetics
  • protamine sulphate is used as an antidote to an overdose of heparin, specifically the uncontrolled bleeding that this entails, acting to bind heparin in a stable complex that blocks its anticoagulant activity - this effect is selective for heparin, so it won't work for other anticoagulants(e.g. if you drink a bunch of rat poison/warfarin, tough)
  • are a component of the liposomal preparation LPD (liposomes/protamine/DNA), a gene delivery system under development for use in cancer gene therapy (this stuff is the future, mark my words)
El-Aneed A. An overview of current delivery systems in cancer gene therapy. J Control Release. 2004 Jan 8;94(1):1-14.

3 chemically inspired comments:

Ursa said...

To be fair, if you start bleeding because of rat poison/warfarin, you can turn to Vitamin K for an antidote. Not that i expect folks should self-treat that sort of thing.

Warfarin, incidentally, is named after the (University of) Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The story goes some farmer hauled his cow up the steps of their building at UW-Madison because it was bleeding out after eating a certain kind of clover (maybe alfalfa?).

Anyway. I'll quit showing off and just say i like your blog. I'm learning quite a bit (like the NPH/protamine sulfate thing). In fact, i'm going to recommend it to my friends.

CND said...

Howdy. Let me just say, I encourage showing off in the comments section of this blog. Keeps me grounded. Plus it's neat to hear what other people know.

Anyway, thanks for the informative comment!

Ursa said...

Thanks for the informative blog!1 Nice to meetcha. (: