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Dev Biol. 2004 May 1;269(1):196-205.

Delta-tubulin is a component of intercellular bridges and both the early and mature perinuclear rings during spermatogenesis.

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Cell Fate Signaling Research Unit, RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research), Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Mammalian spermatogenesis involves drastic morphological changes leading to the development of the mature sperm. Sperm development includes formation of the acrosome and flagellum, translocation of nucleus-acrosome to the cell surface, and condensation and elongation of the nucleus. In addition, spermatogenic cell progenies differentiate as cohorts of units interconnected by intercellular bridges. Little is known about the structural components involved in the establishment of conjoined spermatogenic cells and the mechanism of nuclear shaping of the male gamete. We identified two isoforms of delta-tubulin and found that the long isoform is predominantly expressed in testis, while the short isoform is expressed in all tissues examined. We also found that delta-tubulin forms intercellular bridges conjoining sister spermatogenic cells. In addition, delta-tubulin is a component of the perinuclear ring of the manchette, which acts on translocation and elongation of the nucleus. Furthermore, small rings clearly distinct from the intercellular bridges, which might mature to perinuclear ring of the manchette in later stages of spermatogenesis, were detected on the cell surface of round spermatids. These results suggest that delta-tubulin is a component of two types of ring, the intercellular bridges and the perinuclear rings, which may be involved in morphological changes of spermatid to mature sperm.

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