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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 1985; 82(18): 6176–6180.
PMCID: PMC391015

Change of karyoskeleton during spermatogenesis of Xenopus: expression of lamin LIV, a nuclear lamina protein specific for the male germ line.


Lamins are the major constituent proteins of the nuclear lamina. In the frog, Xenopus laevis, they are the products of a multigene family whose expression can be correlated to certain routes of cell differentiation. For example, lamins LI (Mr, 72,000) and LII (Mr, 68,000) is expressed, together with LI/LII, in certain highly differentiated cell types such as neurons and muscle cells and is the only lamin present in diplotene oocytes. Here we report the identification by means of two monoclonal antibodies of a fourth lamin (LIV) of Mr 75,000, which is expressed specifically during the later stages of spermatogenesis. In the seminiferous tubules, Sertoli cells contain LI/LII and LIII whereas, among the spermatogenic cells, spermatogonia contain only LI and LII. In contrast, in spermatids and sperm cells these lamins are completely replaced by lamin LIV. Primary spermatocytes are negative with both antibodies, indicating that a switch in the expression of lamins occurs early in spermatogenesis. Lamin LIV is distributed in patches along the nuclear envelopes of elongated spermatids and sperm cells rather than in the characteristic continuous lamina pattern found in most other cells. We hypothesize that the specific expression of lamin LIV is related to the conspicuous changes of nuclear architecture and chronmatin composition that are known to take place during the late stages of sperm development.

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