Taf7l cooperates with Trf2 to regulate spermiogenesis
ABSTRACT: Taf7l (a paralogue of Taf7) and Trf2 (a TBP-related protein) are components of the core promoter complex required for gene/tissue-specific transcription of protein-coding genes by RNA polymerase II. Previous studies reported that Taf7l knockout mice exhibit structurally abnormal sperm, reduced sperm count, weakened motility and compromised fertility. Here we find that continued backcrossing of Taf7l-/Y mice from N5 to N9 produced KO males that are essentially sterile. Genome-wide expression profiling by mRNA-seq analysis of wild type (WT) and Taf7l-/Y (KO) testes revealed that Taf7l ablation impairs the expression of many post-meiotic spermatogenic specific as well as metabolic genes. Importantly, histological analysis of testes revealed that Taf7l-/Y mice develop post-meiotic arrest at the first stage of spermiogenesis, phenotypically similar to Trf2-/- mice, but distinct from Taf4b-/- mice. Indeed, we find that Taf7l and Trf2 co-regulate post-meiotic genes, but none of Taf4b-regulated germ stem cell genes in testes. Genome-wide ChIP-seq studies indicate that TAF7L binds to promoters of activated post-meiotic genes in testis. Moreover, biochemical studies show that TAF7L associates with TRF2 both in vitro and in testis suggesting that TAF7L likely cooperates directly with TRF2 at promoters of a subset of post-meiotic genes to regulate spermiogenesis. Our findings thus provide a new mechanism for cell-type specific transcriptional control involving an interaction between a ‘non-prototypic’ core promoter recognition factor (Trf2) and an orphan TAF subunit (Taf7l) in mammalian testis-specific gene transcription. Genome-wide mapping of TAF7L and Pol II in testis tissue, and mRNA-seq expression profiling wild type and Taf7l knockout testis.
Project description:TATA-binding protein (TBP)-associated factor 7l (Taf7l; a paralogue of Taf7) and TBP-related factor 2 (Trf2) are components of the core promoter complex required for gene/tissue-specific transcription of protein-coding genes by RNA polymerase II. Previous studies reported that Taf7l knockout (KO) mice exhibit structurally abnormal sperm, reduced sperm count, weakened motility, and compromised fertility. Here we find that continued backcrossing of Taf7l(-/Y) mice from N5 to N9 produced KO males that are essentially sterile. Genome-wide expression profiling by mRNA-sequencing analysis of wild-type (WT) and Taf7l(-/Y) (KO) testes revealed that Taf7l ablation impairs the expression of many postmeiotic spermatogenic-specific as well as metabolic genes. Importantly, histological analysis of testes revealed that Taf7l(-/Y) mice develop postmeiotic arrest at the first stage of spermiogenesis, phenotypically similar to Trf2(-/-) mice, but distinct from Taf4b(-/-) mice. Indeed, we find that Taf7l and Trf2 coregulate postmeiotic genes, but none of Taf4b-regulated germ stem cell genes in testes. Genome-wide ChIP-sequencing studies indicate that TAF7L binds to promoters of activated postmeiotic genes in testis. Moreover, biochemical studies show that TAF7L associates with TRF2 both in vitro and in testis, suggesting that TAF7L likely cooperates directly with TRF2 at promoters of a subset of postmeiotic genes to regulate spermiogenesis. Our findings thus provide a previously undescribed mechanism for cell-type-specific transcriptional control involving an interaction between a "nonprototypic" core promoter recognition factor (Trf2) and an orphan TAF subunit (Taf7l) in mammalian testis-specific gene transcription.
Project description:Mammalian genomes encode two genes related to the TATA-box binding protein (TBP), TBP-related factors 2 and 3 (TRF2 and TRF3). Male Trf2(-/-) mice are sterile and characterized by arrested spermatogenesis at the transition from late haploid spermatids to early elongating spermatids. Despite this characterization, the molecular function of murine Trf2 remains poorly characterized and no direct evidence exists to show that it acts as a bona fide chromatin-bound transcription factor. We show here that Trf2 forms a stable complex with TFIIA or the testis expressed paralogue ALF chaperoned in the cytoplasm by heat shock proteins. We demonstrate for the first time that Trf2 is recruited to active haploid cell promoters together with Tbp, Taf7l and RNA polymerase II. RNA-seq analysis identifies a set of genes activated in haploid spermatids during the first wave of spermatogenesis whose expression is down-regulated by Trf2 inactivation. We therefore propose that Trf2 is recruited to the preinitiation complex as a testis-specific subunit of TFIIA/ALF that cooperates with Tbp and Taf7l to promote haploid cell gene expression.
Project description:TAF4b is a subunit of the TFIID complex that is highly expressed in the ovary and testis and required for mouse fertility. TAF4b-deficient male mice undergo a complex series of developmental defects that result in the inability to maintain long-term spermatogenesis. To decipher the transcriptional mechanisms upon which TAF4b functions in spermatogenesis, we used two-hybrid screening to identify a novel TAF4b-interacting transcriptional cofactor, ZFP628. Deletion analysis of both proteins reveals discrete and novel domains of ZFP628 and TAF4b protein that function to bridge their direct interaction in vitro Moreover, coimmunoprecipitation of ZFP628 and TAF4b proteins in testis-derived protein extracts supports their endogenous association. Using CRISPR-Cas9, we disrupted the expression of ZFP628 in the mouse and uncovered a postmeiotic germ cell arrest at the round spermatid stage in the seminiferous tubules of the testis in ZFP628-deficient mice that results in male infertility. Coincident with round spermatid arrest, we find reduced mRNA expression of transition protein (Tnp1 and Tnp2) and protamine (Prm1 and Prm2) genes, which are critical for the specialized maturation of haploid male germ cells called spermiogenesis. These data delineate a novel association of two transcription factors, TAF4b and ZFP628, and identify ZFP628 as a novel transcriptional regulator of stage-specific spermiogenesis.
Project description:Long-term mammalian spermatogenesis requires proper development of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) that replenish the testis with germ cell progenitors during adult life. TAF4b is a gonadal-enriched component of the general transcription factor complex, TFIID, which is required for the maintenance of spermatogenesis in the mouse. Successful germ cell transplantation assays into adult TAF4b-deficient host testes suggested that TAF4b performs an essential germ cell autonomous function in SSC establishment and/or maintenance. To elucidate the SSC function of TAF4b, we characterized the initial gonocyte pool and rounds of spermatogenic differentiation in the context of the Taf4b-deficient mouse testis. Here, we demonstrate a significant reduction in the late embryonic gonocyte pool and a deficient expansion of this pool soon after birth. Resulting from this reduction of germ cell progenitors is a developmental delay in meiosis initiation, as compared to age-matched controls. While GFR?1+ spermatogonia are appropriately present as Asingle and Apaired in wild-type testes, TAF4b-deficient testes display an increased proportion of long and clustered chains of GFR?1+ cells. In the absence of TAF4b, seminiferous tubules in the adult testis either lack germ cells altogether or are found to have missing generations of spermatogenic progenitor cells. Together these data indicate that TAF4b-deficient spermatogenic progenitor cells display a tendency for differentiation at the expense of self-renewal and a renewing pool of SSCs fail to establish during the critical window of SSC development.
Project description:In most bony fishes, testes are paired elongated organs that are attached to the dorsal wall of the body by a mesorchium. Histological examination of teleost testes, and also in all vertebrates, shows that the testes are formed of germ cells and somatic cells, comprising the germinal and interstitial compartments. Both compartments are separated by a basement membrane. The germ cells may be spermatogonia, meiotic spermatocytes and haploid spermatids that differentiate into spermatozoa. The process of spermatogenesis includes a sequence of morphological and physiological changes of germ cells that begin with the differentiation of spermatogonia that become meiotic spermatocytes. After the second meiotic division, through a process of spermiogenesis, these differentiate into spermatozoa. Spermatogonia associate with Sertoli cells to form spermatocysts or cysts. The cyst is the unit of spermatogenic function, composed of a cohort of isogenic germ cells surrounded by encompassing Sertoli cells. The teleost testis is organized morphologically into 3 types of testis: 1) tubular testis type, present in lower bony fishes as salmonids, cyprinids and lepisosteids; 2) unrestricted spermatogonial testis type, found in neoteleosts except Atherinomorpha; and 3) restricted spermatogonial testis type, characteristic of all Atherinomorpha. The morphology of the testicular germinal epithelium changes during the annual reproductive cycle, reflecting reproductive seasonality.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The first wave of spermatogenesis in mammals is characterized by a sequential and synchronous appearance of germ cells in the prepubertal testis. Post-transcriptional controls of gene expression play important roles in this process but the molecular actors that underlie them are poorly known. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We evaluated the requirement for the RNA-binding protein CELF1 during the first wave of spermatogenesis in mice. Mice inactivated for Celf1 gene were not viable on pure genetic backgrounds. On a mixed background, we observed by histology and gene profiling by RT-qPCR that the testes of inactivated prepubertal mice were characterized by several features. (i) Spermiogenesis (differentiation of post-meiotic cells) was blocked in a subset of prepubertal inactivated mice. (ii) The appearance of the different stages of germ cell development was delayed by several days. (iii) The expression of markers of Leydig cells functions was similarly delayed. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Celf1 disruption is responsible for a blockage of spermiogenesis both in adults and in prepubertal males. Hence, the spermiogenesis defects found in Celf1-inactivated adults appear from the first wave of spermiogenesis. The disruption of Celf1 gene is also responsible for a fully penetrant delayed first wave of spermatogenesis, and a delay of steroidogenesis may be the cause for the delay of germ cells differentiation.
Project description:TFIID is a general transcription factor required for transcription of most protein-coding genes by RNA polymerase II. TAF7L is an X-linked germ cell-specific paralogue of TAF7, which is a generally expressed component of TFIID. Here, we report the generation of Taf7l mutant mice by homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells by using the Cre-loxP strategy. While spermatogenesis was completed in Taf7l(-/Y) mice, the weight of Taf7l(-/Y) testis decreased and the amount of sperm in the epididymides was sharply reduced. Mutant epididymal sperm exhibited abnormal morphology, including folded tails. Sperm motility was significantly reduced, and Taf7l(-/Y) males were fertile with reduced litter size. Microarray profiling revealed that the abundance of six gene transcripts (including Fscn1) in Taf7l(-/Y) testes decreased more than twofold. In particular, FSCN1 is an F-action-bundling protein and thus may be critical for normal sperm morphology and sperm motility. Although deficiency of Taf7l may be compensated in part by Taf7, Taf7l has apparently evolved new specialized functions in the gene-selective transcription in male germ cell differentiation. Our mouse studies suggest that mutations in the human TAF7L gene might be implicated in X-linked oligozoospermia in men.
Project description:Drosophila Blanks is a testes-specific RNA-binding protein required for post-meiotic spermiogenesis. However, Blanks's role in regulating RNA populations in the testes remains unknown. We performed small RNA and mRNA high-throughput sequencing in blanks mutant testes and controls. We identified two miRNAs, one siRNA, and hundreds of mRNAs that are significantly upregulated or downregulated in blanks mutant testes. Pathway analysis revealed that differentially expressed mRNAs are involved in catabolic and metabolic processes, anion and cation transport, mating, and reproductive behavior. Our results reveal that Blanks plays important roles in defining testicular small RNA and mRNA profiles.
Project description:Spermatogenesis is tightly regulated by ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation, especially during spermiogenesis, in which histones are replaced by protamine. However, the functions of proteasomal activity in meiosis I and II remain elusive. Here, we show that PSMA8-associated proteasomes are essential for the degradation of meiotic proteins and the progression of meiosis I during spermatogenesis. PSMA8 is expressed in spermatocytes from the pachytene stage, and assembles a type of testis-specific core proteasome. Deletion of PSMA8 decreases the abundance of proteasome in testes. Meiotic proteins that are normally degraded at late prophase I, such as RAD51 and RPA1, remain stable in PSMA8-deleted spermatocytes. Moreover, PSMA8-null spermatocytes exhibit delayed M-phase entry and are finally arrested at this stage, resulting in male infertility. However, PSMA8 is neither expressed nor required for female meiotic progression. Thus, meiosis I progression in spermatogenesis, particularly entry into and exit from M-phase, requires the proteasomal activity of PSMA8-associated proteasomes.
Project description:We identified Ran-binding protein 17 (RANBP17) as one of the interacting partners of sperm maturation 1 (SPEM1) using yeast 2-hybrid screening and immunoprecipitation assays. Expression profiling analyses suggested that RANBP17 was preferentially expressed in the testis. Immunofluorescent confocal microscopy revealed a dynamic localization pattern of RANBP17 during spermatogenesis. In primary spermatocytes RANBP17 was mainly localized to the XY body. In the subsequent spermiogenesis, RANBP17 was first observed in the nuclei of round spermatids (steps 1-7) and then confined to the manchette of elongating spermatids (steps 8-14) together with its interacting partner SPEM1. In the Spem1-null testes, levels of RANBP17 were significantly elevated. As a member of a large protein family involved in the nucleocytoplasmic transport, RANBP17 may have a role in sex chromosome inactivation during the meiotic phase of spermatogenesis, and also in the intramanchette transport during spermiogenesis. Interactions between RANBP17 and SPEM1, for the first time, point to a potential function of SPEM1 in the RANBP17-mediated nucleocytoplasmic transport.