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Endocrinology. 1996 Feb;137(2):638-46.

Transcription factor Sp1 is expressed by three different developmentally regulated messenger ribonucleic acids in mouse spermatogenic cells.

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  • 1Neurobiology Group, Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts 01545, USA.


Gene expression during spermatogenesis is highly cell- and stage-specific and involves the complex interplay of multiple developmentally regulated transcription factors. Recent evidence suggests that the DNA-binding protein Sp1 functions as an important trans-activator during cell development and differentiation. In the present study, the developmental expression of Sp1 was characterized during mouse spermatogenesis. Three distinct Sp1 transcripts were detected in mouse spermatogenic cells, each with a distinct developmental pattern; an 8.2-kilobase (kb) messenger RNA (mRNA) identical in size to the somatic mRNA expressed in spermatogonial cells, a larger mRNA approximately 8.8 kb in size present in meiotic cells, and a 2.4 kb mRNA in meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells. The 8.8- and 2.4-kb Sp1 transcripts were not observed in somatic cells and, thus, are male germ cell specific. Northern, ribonuclease protection, and RT-PCR assays revealed that the 2.4-kb Sp1 transcript is truncated in both the 5'- and 3'-untranslated regions relative to the somatic mRNA and lacks a short segment of the N-terminal coding region. Polysome analysis further indicated that these germ cell-specific Sp1 mRNAs are translated, albeit with a lower efficiency than the somatic transcript. Consistent with these results, spermatogenic cells were shown to contain approximately 9-fold lower concentrations of Sp1 proteins that are approximately the same size as the somatic form. Of particular interest, the apparent affinity of Sp1 DNA-binding activity in nuclear extracts from mouse germ cells was 5-fold greater than that in extracts from mouse somatic tissues. This may reflect the existence of mechanisms within mouse spermatogenic cells that compensate for the lower nuclear concentrations of Sp1 protein. These results suggest that cell- and stage-specific regulation of Sp1 gene expression and activity may be an important component of the mouse spermatogenic cell developmental program.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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