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Dev Biol. 1992 Aug;152(2):393-402.

Developmental expression of G protein alpha subunits in mouse spermatogenic cells: evidence that G alpha i is associated with the developing acrosome.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6080.


Guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) are important signal transducing molecules found in all cells. G proteins are associated with the plasma membrane/outer acrosomal membrane region of acrosome-intact sperm and at least one G protein is involved in the zona pellucida-induced acrosome reaction. With the goal of elucidating the functions of these proteins during spermatogenesis, we investigated the types of G proteins present in spermatogenic cells and when they first become associated with the developing acrosome. Using bacterial toxin-catalyzed [32P]ADP-ribosylation in conjunction with immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence utilizing antibodies directed against specific regions of various G protein isotypes, the alpha subunits of Gi1, Gi2, Gi3, and G(o) were detected in mouse spermatocytes and spermatids. An antiserum recognizing a conserved sequence of G alpha i subtypes localized to the proacrosomal granules of spermatocytes and the developing acrosome of spermatids. Levels of G alpha o diminished as spermatocytes developed into spermatids such that G alpha o was not detected in cauda epididymal sperm. Immunoreactivity using G alpha o-specific antisera did not display a distinct regionalization within any of the spermatogenic cell types. G alpha s was not detected in the developing spermatogenic cells or sperm. The association of G alpha i with the developing acrosome suggests a role for G proteins may have a role in acrosome biogenesis as well as being part of a complex required later for signal transduction leading to acrosomal exocytosis.

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