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Dev Biol. 1984 Sep;105(1):71-9.

Translational regulation and deadenylation of a protamine mRNA during spermiogenesis in the mouse.


The distribution of the mRNA for one of the two mouse protamines, the cysteine-rich, tyrosine-containing protamine (MP1), was examined in the polysomal and nonpolysomal compartments of total testis and purified populations of round and elongating spermatids using Northern blots. In postmitochondrial supernatants prepared from total testis, about 10-15% of MP1-mRNA sediments with the small polysomes. The nonpolysomal molecules of MP1-mRNA are homogeneous in size, about 580 bases, while the polysomal molecules are heterogeneous with a mode of about 450 bases. Digestion with RNase H and thermal chromatography on poly(U) Sepharose reveals that the difference in size of polysomal and nonpolysomal MP1-mRNA is due to a shortening of the poly(A) from about 160 to 30 bases. In round spermatids, essentially all of MP1-mRNA is 580 bases long and is in the nonpolysomal fraction. Elongating spermatids contain roughly equal proportions of the homogeneous, 580 base form in the nonpolysomal compartment, and the heterogeneous 450 base form solely in the polysomal compartment. These results indicate that mRNA for one of the mouse protamines is stored as an untranslated RNP in round spermatids, and that it is partially deadenylated when it is translated in elongating spermatids.

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