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Cell Death Differ. 2006 Feb;13(2):212-22.

Spermatocyte-specific expression of constitutively active heat shock factor 1 induces HSP70i-resistant apoptosis in male germ cells.

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Department of Tumor Biology, Maria Skłodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Gliwice Branch, 44-101 Gliwice, Poland.


Spermatocytes, the most sensitive male germ cells to heat-induced apoptosis, do not respond to hyperthermia by inducing heat shock proteins (HSPs), including HSP70i, which has been previously shown to confer resistance to apoptosis in somatic cells. To dissect the mechanism of heat-induced apoptosis and to determine if we could protect spermatocytes by expressing HSP70i, we engineered transgenic mice that express in spermatocytes constitutively active heat shock transcription factor (HSF)1. Such HSF1 expression did not lead to transcription of inducible Hsp70 genes, but instead induced caspase-dependent apoptosis that mimicked heat shock-induced death of spermatogenic cells. Both mitochondria-dependent and death receptor-dependent pathways appear to be involved in such HSF1-induced apoptosis: the levels of Bcl-2 family proteins became increased, p53 protein accumulated and expression levels of caspase-8 and death-receptor-interacting proteins (including Fas-associated death domain protein and TNF receptor associated death domain protein) became elevated. Surprisingly, the constitutive spermatocyte-specific expression of HSP70i in double-transgenic males did not protect against such HSF1-induced apoptosis.

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