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Dev Biol. 2007 Sep 1;309(1):18-31. Epub 2007 Jun 18.

Three male germline-specific aldolase A isozymes are generated by alternative splicing and retrotransposition.

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Laboratories for Reproductive Biology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Enzymes in the glycolytic pathway of mammalian sperm are modified extensively and are localized in the flagellum, where several are tightly bound to the fibrous sheath. This study provides the first evidence for three novel aldolase isozymes in mouse sperm, two encoded by Aldoart1 and Aldoart2 retrogenes on different chromosomes and another by Aldoa_v2, a splice variant of Aldoa. Phylogenetic analyses and comparative genomics indicate that the retrogenes and splice variant have remained functional and have been under positive selection for millions of years. Their expression is restricted to the male germline and is tightly regulated at both transcriptional and translational levels. All three isozymes are present only in spermatids and sperm and have distinctive features that may be important for localization in the flagellum and/or altered metabolic regulation. Both ALDOART1 and ALDOA_V2 have unusual N-terminal extensions not found in other aldolases. The N-terminal extension of ALDOA_V2 is highly conserved in mammals, suggesting a conserved function in sperm. We hypothesize that the N-terminal extensions are responsible for localizing components of the glycolytic pathway to the fibrous sheath and that this localization is required to provide sufficient ATP along the length of the flagellum to support sperm motility.

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