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1.  Kinesin Light-Chain KLC3 Expression in Testis Is Restricted to Spermatids1 
Biology of reproduction  2001;64(5):1320-1330.
Kinesins are tetrameric motor molecules, consisting of two kinesin heavy chains (KHCs) and two kinesin light chains (KLCs) that are involved in transport of cargo along microtubules. The function of the light chain may be in cargo binding and regulation of kinesin activity. In the mouse, two KLC genes, KLC1 and KLC2, had been identified. KLC1 plays a role in neuronal transport, and KLC2 appears to be more widely expressed. We report the cloning from a testicular cDNA expression library of a mammalian light chain, KLC3. The KLC3 gene is located in close proximity to the ERCC2 gene. KLC3 can be classified as a genuine light chain: it interacts in vitro with the KHC, the interaction is mediated by a conserved heptade repeat sequence, and it associates in vitro with microtubules. In mouse and rat testis, KLC3 protein expression is restricted to round and elongating spermatids, and KLC3 is present in sperm tails. In contrast, KLC1 and KLC2 can only be detected before meiosis in testis. Interestingly, the expression profiles of the three known KHCs and KLC3 differ significantly: Kif5a and Kif5b are not expressed after meiosis, and Kif5c is expressed at an extremely low level in spermatids but is not detectable in sperm tails. Our characterization of the KLC3 gene suggests that it carries out a unique and specialized role in spermatids.
PMCID: PMC3161965  PMID: 11319135 CAMSID: cams1886
gene regulation; meiosis; spermatid; spermatogenesis; testis
2.  Spermatogenesis in Bclw-Deficient Mice1 
Biology of reproduction  2001;65(1):318-332.
Bclw is a death-protecting member of the Bcl2 family of apoptosis-regulating proteins. Mice that are mutant for Bclw display progressive and nearly complete testicular degeneration. We performed a morphometric evaluation of testicular histopathology in Bclw-deficient male mice between 9 days postnatal (p9) through 1 yr of age. Germ cell loss began by p22, with only few germ cells remaining beyond 7 mo of age. A complete block to elongated spermatid development at step 13 occurred during the first wave of spermatogenesis, whereas other types of germ cells were lost sporadically. Depletion of Sertoli cells commenced between p20 and p23 and continued until 1 yr of age, when few, if any, Sertoli cells remained. Mitochondria appeared to be swollen and the cytoplasm dense by electron microscopy, but degenerating Bclw-deficient Sertoli cells failed to display classical features of apoptosis, such as chromatin condensation and nuclear fragmentation. Macrophages entered seminiferous tubules and formed foreign-body giant cells that engulfed and phagocytosed the degenerated Sertoli cells. Leydig cell hyperplasia was evident between 3 and 5 mo of age. However, beginning at 7 mo of age, Leydig cells underwent apoptosis, with dead cells being phagocytosed by macrophages. The aforementioned cell losses culminated in a testis-containing vasculature, inter-tubular phagocytic cells, and peritubular cell “ghosts.” An RNA in situ hybridization study indicates that Bclw is expressed in Sertoli cells in the adult mouse testis. Consequently, the diploid germ cell death may be an indirect effect of defective Sertoli cell function. Western analysis was used to confirm that Bclw is not expressed in spermatids; thus, loss of this cell type most likely results from defective Sertoli cell function. Because Bclw does not appear to be expressed in Leydig cells, loss of Leydig cells in Bclw-deficient mice may result from depletion of Sertoli cells. Bclw-deficient mice serve as a unique model to study homeostasis of cell populations in the testis.
PMCID: PMC3049812  PMID: 11420255
aging; apoptosis; developmental biology; gametogenesis; Leydig cells; Sertoli cells; testes

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