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Biol Reprod. 1993 Aug;49(2):251-61.

Flagellar and acrosomal abnormalities associated with testicular HSV-tk expression in the mouse.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.


Expression of herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) in transgenic mouse testis is associated with abnormalities in spermatogenesis leading to infertility. Our studies of this phenomenon in two transgenic lines led to the identification of a genetic locus that reduced testicular HSV-tk activity and restored fertility. Using light and electron microscopy, we examined spermatogenesis in the infertile transgenic males as well as in the fertile revertants. Infertile males from line 21OH1 had high levels of testicular HSV-tk activity, acrosomal aberrations, and a developmental arrest in spermatogenesis. Infertile males from line ANF1 had lower levels of testicular HSV-tk expression and demonstrated a unique set of structural changes present in the neck and flagellum of epididymal sperm. Revertant ANF1 males, with a significant decrease in testicular HSV-tk expression and a restoration of fertility, showed a marked reduction in the number of sperm abnormalities. Several of the ANF1-specific abnormalities were similar to lesions reported in the sperm of mouse t locus mutants, mouse wobbler homozygotes, and bulls with the Dag-defect.

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