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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 12;6:20980. doi: 10.1038/srep20980.

SOHLH2 is essential for synaptonemal complex formation during spermatogenesis in early postnatal mouse testes.

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Department of Biomedical Science, CHA University, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do 463-400, Republic of Korea.
Department of Nanobiomedical Science &BK21 PLUS NBM Global Research Center for Regenerative Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan 330-714, Republic of Korea.
Department of Animal Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea.
Department of Biotechnology, College of Applied Life Science, Jeju National University, Jeju-do 690-756, Republic of Korea.
ASAN Institute for Life Sciences, ASAN Medical Center, Department of Convergence Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea.


Spermatogenesis- and oogenesis-specific helix-loop-helix transcription factor 2 (SOHLH2) is exclusively expressed in germ cells of the gonads. Previous studies show that SOHLH2 is critical for spermatogenesis in mouse. However, the regulatory mechanism of SOHLH2 during early spermatogenesis is poorly understood. In the present study, we analyzed the gene expression profile of the Sohlh2-deficient testis and examined the role of SOHLH2 during spermatogenesis. We found 513 genes increased in abundance, while 492 genes decreased in abundance in 14-day-old Sohlh2-deficient mouse testes compared to wildtype mice. Gene ontology analysis revealed that Sohlh2 disruption effects the relative abundance of various meiotic genes during early spermatogenesis, including Spo11, Dmc1, Msh4, Prdm9, Sycp1, Sycp2, Sycp3, Hormad1, and Hormad2. Western blot analysis and immunostaining showed that SYCP3, a component of synaptonemal complex, was significantly less abundant in Sohlh2-deficient spermatocytes. We observed a lack of synaptonemal complex formation during meiosis in Sohlh2-deficient spermatocytes. Furthermore, we found that SOHLH2 interacted with two E-boxes on the mouse Sycp1 promoter and Sycp1 promoter activity increased with ectopically expressed SOHLH2. Taken together, our data suggest that SOHLH2 is critical for the formation of synaptonemal complexes via its regulation of Sycp1 expression during mouse spermatogonial differentiation.

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