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Dev Biol. 1997 Nov 1;191(1):42-52.

Separate elements in the 3' untranslated region of the mouse protamine 1 mRNA regulate translational repression and activation during murine spermatogenesis.

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Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


The mouse protamine mRNAs, Prm-1 and Prm-2, are translationally repressed for several days during male germ cell differentiation. The translational delay of mouse Prm-1 mRNA has previously been shown to be dependent upon cis-acting elements that reside in the last 62 nucleotides of the Prm-1 3' untranslated region (3' UTR). We have previously identified a 48/50-kDa protein that binds the 3' UTRs of both Prm-1 and Prm-2 mRNAs in a sequence-specific manner, is present in cytoplasmic fractions of postmeiotic round spermatids where the protamine mRNAs are translationally silent, and is markedly reduced in elongated spermatids where the protamine mRNAs become activated for translation. Surprisingly, the binding site for this activity maps to a region of the Prm-1 3' UTR not contained within the functional 62 nucleotides described above. In this report we show that the binding site for the 48/50-kDa protein can also delay translation of a reporter RNA in vivo, suggesting that the 48/50-kDa protein can repress the translation of Prm-1 mRNA during murine spermatogenesis. This observation proves that two separate regions of the Prm-1 3' UTR are sufficient to repress Prm-1 translation. In addition, immunocytochemistry and polysome analysis have revealed that this transgenic reporter mRNA fails to undergo proper translational activation. These results suggest that an additional region of the Prm-1 3' UTR is required for proper translational activation and that Prm-1 translational repression elements can be separated from those involved in translational activation.

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