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J Reprod Immunol. 2011 Apr;89(1):26-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2011.01.018. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

Spermatogenetic but not immunological defects in mice lacking the τCstF-64 polyadenylation protein.

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Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Texas, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA.


Alternative polyadenylation controls expression of genes in many tissues including immune cells and male germ cells. The τCstF-64 polyadenylation protein is expressed in both cell types, and we previously showed that Cstf2t, the gene encoding τCstF-64 was necessary for spermatogenesis and fertilization. Here we examine consequences of τCstF-64 loss in both germ cells and immune cells. Spermatozoa from Cstf2t null mutant (Cstf2t(-/-)) mice of ages ranging from 60 to 108 days postpartum exhibited severe defects in motility and morphology that were correlated with a decrease in numbers of round spermatids. Spermatozoa in these mice also displayed severe morphological defects at every age, especially in the head and midpiece. In the testicular epithelium, we saw normal numbers of cells in earlier stages of spermatogenesis, but reduced numbers of round spermatids in Cstf2t(-/-) mice. Although Leydig cell numbers were normal, we did observe reduced levels of plasma testosterone in the knockout animals, suggesting that reduced androgen might also be contributing to the Cstf2t(-/-) phenotype. Finally, while τCstF-64 was expressed in a variety of immune cell types in wild type mice, we did not find differences in secreted IgG or IgM or changes in immune cell populations in Cstf2t(-/-) mice, suggesting that τCstF-64 function in immune cells is either redundant or vestigial. Together, these data show that τCstF-64 function is primarily to support spermatogenesis, but only incidentally to support immune cell function.

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