Studies on sex-organ development. Changes in nuclear and chromatin composition and genomic activity during spermatogenesis in the maturing rooster testis.
ABSTRACT: We developed a technique to separate nuclei of rooster testis by centrifugation through a discontinuous sucrose density gradient and by sedimentation at unit gravity. Four different major fractions obtained from testicular nuclei and one from the vas deferens were characterized according to their velocity of sedimentation, morphology and DNA content. The ratios (w/w) of basic proteins, non-histone proteins and RNA to DNA decreased during spermiogenesis both in nuclei and chromatin. Changes in the electrophoretic patterns of histones and non-histone proteins were detected especially in the elongated spermatids. The lack of uptake of [3H]uridine in elongating and elongated spermatids and in spermatozoa was demonstrated by radioautography and by the detection of labelled RNA extracted from different fractions of nuclei. Template activity for RNA synthesis and the binding of actinomycin D by testicular nuclei reached a peak in the elongated spermatid stage, when the histones are replaced by the protamine.
Project description:The natural polyamines spermine and spermidine, and the diamine putrescine, were extracted from rooster testis cells separated by sedimentation at unit gravity, and from vas-deferens spermatozoa. The ratios spermine/DNA and spermidine/DNA were kept relatively constant throughout spermatogenesis, whereas the ratio putrescine/DNA rose in elongated spermatids. The cellular content of spermine, spermidine and putrescine decreased markedly in mature spermatozoa. Two rate-limiting enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway of polyamines, ornithine decarboxylase and S-adenosyl-L-methionine decarboxylase, showed their highest activities at the end of spermiogenesis and were not detectable in vas-deferens spermatozoa. A marked reduction in cell volume during spermiogenesis without a parallel decrease in the cellular content of polyamines suggests the possibility that the marked changes in chromatin composition and structure occurring in rooster late spermatids could take place in an ambience of high polyamine concentration.
Project description:To probe the structural change in the genome of the differentiating germ cell of the maturing rooster testis, the chromatin from nuclei at various stages of differentiation were transcribed with prokaryotic RNA polymerase from Escherichia coli or with eukaryotic RNA polymerase II from wheat germ. The transcription was performed under conditions of blockage of RNA chain reinitiation in vitro with rifampicin or rifampicin AF/013. With the E. coli enzyme, the changes in (1) the titration curve for the enzyme-chromatin interaction, (2) the number of initiation sites, (3) the rate of elongation of RNA chains, and (4) the kinetics of the formation of stable initiation complexes revealed the unmasking of DNA in elongated spermatids and the masking of DNA in spermatozoa. In both cases the stability of the DNA duplex in the initiation region for RNA synthesis greatly increased. In contrast with the E. coli enzyme, the wheat-germ RNA polymerase II was relatively inefficient at transcribing chromatin of elongated spermatids. Such behaviour can be predicted if unmasked double-stranded DNA is present in elongated spermatids.
Project description:The "cock-a-doodle-doo" crowing of roosters, which symbolizes the break of dawn in many cultures, is controlled by the circadian clock. When one rooster announces the break of dawn, others in the vicinity immediately follow. Chickens are highly social animals, and they develop a linear and fixed hierarchy in small groups. We found that when chickens were housed in small groups, the top-ranking rooster determined the timing of predawn crowing. Specifically, the top-ranking rooster always started to crow first, followed by its subordinates, in descending order of social rank. When the top-ranking rooster was physically removed from a group, the second-ranking rooster initiated crowing. The presence of a dominant rooster significantly reduced the number of predawn crows in subordinates. However, the number of crows induced by external stimuli was independent of social rank, confirming that subordinates have the ability to crow. Although the timing of subordinates' predawn crowing was strongly dependent on that of the top-ranking rooster, free-running periods of body temperature rhythms differed among individuals, and crowing rhythm did not entrain to a crowing sound stimulus. These results indicate that in a group situation, the top-ranking rooster has priority to announce the break of dawn, and that subordinate roosters are patient enough to wait for the top-ranking rooster's first crow every morning and thus compromise their circadian clock for social reasons.
Project description:Chromatin remodeling is a major event that occurs during mammalian spermiogenesis, the process of spermatid maturation into spermatozoa. Nuclear condensation during spermiogenesis is accomplished by replacing somatic histones (linker histone H1 and core histones) and the testis-specific linker histone, H1t, with transition proteins and protamines. It has long been thought that H1t is the only testis-specific linker histone, and that all linker histones are replaced by transition proteins, and subsequently by protamines during spermiogenesis. Here, we report the identification and characterization of a spermatid-specific linker histone H1-like protein (termed HILS1) in the mouse and human. Both mouse and human HILS1 genes are located in intron 8 of the alpha-sarcoglycan genes. HILS1 is highly expressed in nuclei of elongating and elongated spermatids (steps 9-15). HILS1 displays several biochemical properties that are similar to those of linker histones, including the abilities to bind reconstituted mononucleosomes, produce a chromatosome stop during micrococcal nuclease digestion, and aggregate chromatin. Because HILS1 is expressed in late spermatids that do not contain core histones, HILS1 may participate in spermatid nuclear condensation through a mechanism distinct from that of linker histones. Because HILS1 also belongs to the large winged helix/forkhead protein superfamily, HILS1 may also regulate gene transcription, DNA repair, and/or other chromosome processes during mammalian spermiogenesis.
Project description:The coadministration of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) has increased the survival rate of testicular cancer patients to over 90%. Previous studies have demonstrated that BEP induces germ cell damage during the final stages of spermatogenesis, when major chromatin remodeling occurs. Chromatin remodeling permits histone-protamine exchange, resulting in sperm head chromatin compaction. This process involves different epigenetic modifications of the core histones. The objective of these studies was to investigate the effects of BEP on epigenetic modifications to histones involved in chromatin remodeling. Brown Norway rats were treated with BEP, and their testes were removed to isolate pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids by unit gravity sedimentation. Western blot analyses were conducted on extracted proteins to detect the expression of key modified histones. In a second cohort testes were prepared for immunohistochemical analysis. The stage-specific expression of each modified histone mark in rat spermatogenesis suggests the involvement of these modifications in chromatin remodeling. BEP treatment significantly increased expression of H3K9m and decreased that of tH2B (or Hist1h2ba) in pachytene spermatocytes, suggesting that nucleosomes were not destabilized to allow for transcription of genes involved in chromatin remodeling. Moreover, BEP treatment altered the expression of H4K8ac in round and elongating spermatids, suggesting that histone eviction was compromised, leading to a looser chromatin structure in mature spermatozoa. Less-compacted sperm chromatin, with alterations to the sperm epigenome, may have an adverse effect on male fertility.
Project description:During spermiogenesis, the postmeiotic phase of mammalian spermatogenesis, transcription is progressively repressed as nuclei of haploid spermatids are compacted through a dramatic chromatin reorganization involving hyperacetylation and replacement of most histones with protamines. Although BRDT functions in transcription and histone removal in spermatids, it is unknown whether other BET family proteins play a role. Immunofluorescence of spermatogenic cells revealed BRD4 in a ring around the nuclei of spermatids containing hyperacetylated histones. The ring lies directly adjacent to the acroplaxome, the cytoskeletal base of the acrosome, previously linked to chromatin reorganization. The BRD4 ring does not form in acrosomal mutant mice. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing in spermatids revealed enrichment of BRD4 and acetylated histones at the promoters of active genes. BRD4 and BRDT show distinct and synergistic binding patterns, with a pronounced enrichment of BRD4 at spermatogenesis-specific genes. Direct association of BRD4 with acetylated H4 decreases in late spermatids as acetylated histones are removed from the condensing nucleus in a wave following the progressing acrosome. These data provide evidence of a prominent transcriptional role for BRD4 and suggest a possible removal mechanism for chromatin components from the genome via the progressing acrosome as transcription is repressed and chromatin is compacted during spermiogenesis.
Project description:Gonadotropins are heterodimers consisting an alpha chain (Cgα) and a beta chain. Interestingly, presence of complicated LH-β transcripts in rat testis was accidently found; testicular LH-β transcripts were confined in seminiferous tubules to spermatids, and the translated products were localized in the elongated spermatids. We hypothesized that mouse testis has potential to produce the tissue specific LH-β with similar structure to the rat testicular forms. To verify our hypothesis, we examined the adult mouse (ICR) testis using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. The PCR revealed the presence of the identical products in the reactions for three LH subunit types. The expected product sizes for mouse Cgα and LH-β known as pituitary type were 224 bp and 503 bp, respectively. The testicular type LH-β products were produced by a primer set based on the rat sequences, with unexpected size of 800 bp. Sequencing revealed that the proximal and distal parts (2-82 and 661- 773 bp, respectively) were homologous to rat testicular LH-β cDNA, and middle part (83-660 bp) was a unique mouse-specific region. Both Cgα and LH-β positive signals were in the round and elongated spermatids and mature sperms, and the LH-β signals were more intense. In conclusion, our study demonstrated that the presence and localization of the LH subunits in mouse testis. Further studies will be needed to understand the precise structure and function of mouse testicular LH.
Project description:Hyaluronate from rooster comb was isolated by ion-exchange chromatography on DEAE-cellulose from tissue extracts and papain digests. The preparations were labelled with [14C]acetic anhydride and subjected to CsCl-density-gradient centrifugation in 4 M-guanidinium chloride in the presence and absence of 4% ZwittergentTM 3-12. A radioactive protein fraction was separated from the hyaluronate when the zwitterionic detergent was also present. The protein could also be separated from the glycosaminoglycan by chromatography on Sepharose CL-6B eluted with the same solvent mixture. The protein fraction contained three protein bands of Mr 15,000-17,000 as assessed by polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis in 0.1% SDS, and seemed to lack lysozyme activity. No evidence of other protein or amino acid(s) covalently linked with the hyaluronate was obtained. The hyaluronate-protein complex may be re-formed upon mixing the components, the extent of its formation depending on the conditions used. The results show that, as in chondrosarcoma [Mason, d'Arville, Kimura & Hascall (1982) Biochem. J. 207, 445-457] and teratocarcinoma cells [Prehm (1983) Biochem. J. 211, 191-198] the rooster comb hyaluronate also is not linked covalently to a core protein.
Project description:During mammalian spermiogenesis, major restructuring of chromatin takes place. In the mouse, the histones are replaced by the transition proteins, TP1 and TP2, which are in turn replaced by the protamines, P1 and P2. To investigate the role of TP2, we generated mice with a targeted deletion of its gene, Tnp2. Spermatogenesis in Tnp2 null mice was almost normal, with testis weights and epididymal sperm counts being unaffected. The only abnormality in testicular histology was a slight increase of sperm retention in stage IX to XI tubules. Epididymal sperm from Tnp2-null mice showed an increase in abnormal tail, but not head, morphology. The mice were fertile but produced small litters. In step 12 to 16 spermatid nuclei from Tnp2-null mice, there was normal displacement of histones, a compensatory translationally regulated increase in TP1 levels, and elevated levels of precursor and partially processed forms of P2. Electron microscopy revealed abnormal focal condensations of chromatin in step 11 to 13 spermatids and progressive chromatin condensation in later spermatids, but condensation was still incomplete in epididymal sperm. Compared to that of the wild type, the sperm chromatin of these mutants was more accessible to intercalating dyes and more susceptible to acid denaturation, which is believed to indicate DNA strand breaks. We conclude that TP2 is not a critical factor for shaping of the sperm nucleus, histone displacement, initiation of chromatin condensation, binding of protamines to DNA, or fertility but that it is necessary for maintaining the normal processing of P2 and, consequently, the completion of chromatin condensation.